Paul and Carol Shaw own a dairy farm at Kaharoa on the hills above Rotorua, on the Tauranga Direct Road. They are in the Top 5% of New Zealand’s milk producers.
Last June, with 40 years of dairy farming experience behind them, they decided to automate their calf feeding system, and, to raise the season’s 150 herd replacements, on the Queen of Calves Nutrition Programme. A huge change.
Paul and Carol are typically cautious by nature and they were fairly skeptical of reports they’d heard about the Queen of Calves Programme. But they decided to give it a go.
The heifers (as photographed above), born July/August 2010, were weighed in September 2011.
The average daily weight gain from the Queen of Calves-raised group is .647 kilogram/day. To compare this average growth rate with previous years, these heifers are 16% of the normal daily growth rate of .556 kilograms/day. That means the heifers are approximately 30 kilograms ahead of normal.
Paul & Carol describe this investment as one of the most significant things they’ve done in their extensive dairy career. And some of the best heifers they’ve ever raised. They have freed themselves up from the majority of the heavy lifting associated with calf rearing, the constant tie of having to be continually on-hand in the calf shed, to being able to work on their farm, more than work in it.