Kiwi researcher proves milk production claims to US dairy scientists
Farmers struggling to boost milk production should consult recent Massey University research that showcases a proven solution.
Massey University major leader of animal science, Dr Jean Margerison, is currently in New Orleans to address the American Dairy Science Association.
She is presenting research that shows a calf feed product manufactured in New Zealand increased milk production by 12 percent in controlled research studies involving 40 animals.
Actual on-farm survey data involving 6,900 cows over two lactation cycles showed that farms using the product increased milk production by as much as 18 percent .
The product, Queen of Calves, is a probiotic made from marine and land plant extracts. It enhances the nutritional value of milk.
Its success derives from the fact it increases the energy conversion of the milk diet, reducing the risk of fat deposition, and promoting calf growth during the early milk feeding phase.
It is manufactured by farming products supply company, Bell-Booth Limited.
Statistics show Queen of Calves can produce an extra 49kg of additional milks solids per heifer in the first lactation and an additional $367 of revenue per calf.
It achieves these returns for a per-calf investment of just $60 more than traditional feeding methods.
Dr Margerison, a specialist in dairy nutrition and lactation physiology, led the Massey research team that ran the research on Queen of Calves.
She has completed almost five years of research into the product, studying 120 calves for over three years of rearing and two lactations.
Dr Margerison’s studies compared calves raised on a diet of whole milk with unlimited access to hard feed and straw with those raised on an identical diet, plus Queen of Calves, which was added to the milk every day from day 19 until weaning.
The Massey research found Queen of Calves increased daily growth rates by more than 10 percent, reduced time to weaning by about 8 days and produced significantly bigger calves at 12 weeks of age.
Calves reared on it required 9 percent less whole milk to reach target weight and required 16 percent less pellet feed to achieve target weight.
Queen of Calves is one of the only products of its type in New Zealand to have undergone extended research to prove its production outputs.
Dr Margerison says farmers using Queen of Calves have the opportunity to rear heifers that achieve higher levels of mature weight at mating and entry to the dairy herd, which can reduce herd management costs by reducing the likelihood of lameness and improving the chances of conception.