How to get the best possible start with Kaliber

18 May 2021

As a dairy farmer, you want your calves to be as heavy and well developed as possible. The Kaliber Calf Rearing Plan results in heifers that calve at 24 months and weigh 570kg after calving with the backline and the last ribs clearly visible. With our plan, you can optimise height, length and carcass. However, the success of this plan hinges on the first few months. Here’s what you need to know about how to get the most out of your start phase.

Extend feeding colostrum to newborn calves

Protecting your calves starts with providing colostrum and transition milk from day one. Practical studies conducted by De Heus show that calves have a better developed gastrointestinal tract if they get colostrum or transition milk from their mother for the first three days of their life. This means they can absorb more nutrients and have better developed intestinal flora. Monitoring colostrum quality is now easy to do thanks to De Heus’ new method using a refractometer.

Use the right ratio of milk replacer

To keep things simple, we recommend mixing 150g of milk powder per litre of milk. For example, you’d use 1.5kg of powder to prepare 10 litres of milk. Dissolve the powder in half the water at 50-55°C before adding lukewarm water to end up with 10 litres at 40°C. In a drinking dispenser, this results in a dosage setting of 175g per litre of water.

Maximise milk production by increasing daily gain

Research shows that a higher daily gain in the first weeks results in a higher milk production later on. In fact, you can get an additional 250kg of milk production after calving for every 100g of added growth per day before weaning.

To help you unlock these results, we’ve developed a new feeding schedule. If you want to increase your maximum schedule from six litres a day, you have to meet certain benchmarks. These include calving hygiene standards, the supply and quality of colostrum, and housing and feeding hygiene standards.

Kaliber Selector

The Kaliber Selector allows you to find the right milk feeding schedule for your farm. This enables you and your cattle specialist to develop the optimal milk feeding schedule and receive feedback on the key rearing management stages.

The Kaliber Calf Rearing Plan provides optimal advice in rearing and weaning your calves into full-grown heifers. However, the Kaliber Rearing Plan also provides nutritional and management guidelines for the other phases of development. Our trained cattle specialists help you best apply Kaliber to your own situation.

Discover more about our Kaliber Calf Rearing Plan and contact an advisor of the De Heus team for more information.

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