The Hewitt’s have six purpose-built calf sheds. When a calf is born, it is fed with the automatic mixer milk trolly. The calves are all fed this way until day 10 when they are then introduced to the Lely Calm Automatic Feeder.
Roadhead Farm, located in the outskirts of Biggar, South Lanarkshire is owned by the Hewitt Family, Geoff, Aileen, Kerry, Fraser as well as Adam, who is now stepping up to deal with some of the management and day to day running of the farm. They manage a herd of over 1000 cows and milk through a rotary parlour, which they installed five years ago.
The Hewitt’s have recently erected six purpose-built calf sheds which each house fifty calves. With Roadhead calving around 100 cows each month, they normally fill two houses per month. When a calf is born, it is fed with the automatic mixer milk trolly. The calves are all fed this way until day 10 when they are then introduced to the Lely Calm Automatic Feeder.
When a calf drinks from its mother, it usually drinks adequate portions spread over the day. However, in today’s dairy farming when a calf is fed manually, this is restricted to once or twice a day. This is why Lely introduced the Lely Calm automatic calf feeder, which supplies the correct portion and concentration of feed spread over the day, resembling the natural behaviour of the calf. The Calm calf feeder offers the calves an outstanding start, while giving labour savings and many economic benefits. The accurate and small portions spread over the day substantially enhance the development of the digestive organs of the calf. Calves are weaned gently by gradually reducing their milk portions.
As soon as a calf enters a milk station, it is recognised by its electronic transponder and, according to the calf’s’ feeding plan, the Lely Calm calf feeder decides if it is allowed to drink, and how much. A minimum and maximum portion of milk per visit can be set for each calf, then the calf feeder will automatically determine the ration per calf. If the calf is indeed allowed to drink, the calf feeder immediately prepares a fresh portion of milk at the predetermined temperature. The Lely Calm cleans itself automatically resulting in better machine hygiene and can be improved further by installing extra options such as the fly protection screen or anti-moisture element.
At Roadhead the youngstock are cared for by the able team of, Katie Brown & May Allan. This hard-working team ensure the youngstock have the best start to life and keep all the machines performing to their full potential each day.
Within each of the six calf sheds, a Lely Calm feeder is installed. Once a calf has entered a shed, it will stay there for approximately two weeks. This shed will then be cleared, and calves moved into the next stage. With this routine, it ensures each calf shed is cleaned & disinfected fully. This promotes good health for the calves with low infection rates. Geoff added; “We decided to build the 6 houses rather that one large house, this way we can clean the full shed and have less bacteria build up, reducing illness in calves”
Each calf is on 145g of milk powder per litre. At Day 7 they are drinking on average 5-7litres, at 21 days they are on 7 litres and then after a further 21 days, they begin to wean the calves reducing from 7 litres down to zero. Geoff added; “The calves adapt really well to the machines, we rarely have any issues with them”.
The Calm calf feeder gives you the flexibility to check the performance of the calves whenever you want. The handheld terminal of the Calm has a large display. With several function keys, fast buttons and records you can quickly find or change information. The Lely Calm can be connected to Lely’s T4C advanced management programme, giving you a clear overview and ease of control of all your calves through your PC. It also allows you to generate reports and graphs of milk rations per calf. You can choose for feeding only fresh milk, only powder milk or a combination of both.
A Lely Calm automatic calf feeder will pay for itself by means of healthier calves, increased growth, increased feed efficiency and labour savings. A Lely Calm offers labour-savings of 60 to 70%; it will pay for itself in three years. The Calm calf feeder is a reliable calf feeder.
Alongside Roadhead Farm, Geoff manages his own agricultural feed business, ‘Roadhead Farm Feeds’. With this in mind, Geoff is keen to performance check the range of Roadhead Milk Powders through his new Lely Calm machines. Namely Roadhead Excel Blue, Roadhead Creamline or Roadhead Gold. Geoff added; “We have always used our own stock for any feed and performance trials, obtaining first hand results for ourselves which is beneficial for us to continually improve and promote our feed and milk ranges”.
Roadhead Farm Feeds provide an ever-growing range of nutritious feeds for ruminant livestock throughout Scotland and the north of England. The calves at Roadhead are started on the ‘Roadhead Calf Crunch’ blend from Day 1. This is a coarse calf mixture formulated to feed baby calves from 0-12 weeks which are being reared on milk powder or cow’s milk. This mixture has high inclusion of flaked maize, peas, beans which supply a high level of cooked starch which provides a source of highly digestible fibre to aid rumen development in calves. This mixture is fed on an ad-lib basis to all calves at Roadhead Farm until two weeks after they are weaned which normally occurs around 8-10 weeks old. Post weaning the calves remain in their straw bedded pen and are fed Roadhead Pioneer 16 blend. A fortnight after weaning they are moved to calf cubicles and fed a TMR ration.
Geoff & his team at Roadhead Farm are delighted with their Lely Calm Feeders which were only installed in March 2021, below are the advantages they have seen:
- Time saving
Quicker growth rate.
Better rumen development.
Individual calf management.
Stable and exact milk temperature.
Flexible feeding schedules.
Weaning without stress.
Suitable for all farm sizes