VOLAC HAS PLENTY GOING ON AT UK DAIRY DAY THIS YEAR – visit us in the new calf rearing zone, which Volac is sponsoring and is part of the event’s farmer ‘Knowledge Trail’, and on stand H221 on Wednesday 13th September to find out more.
Come and explore the latest product and service innovations from Volac – all developed to help you make your dairy farming business more efficient and sustainable.
New computerised calf feeder and free consultations
Take advantage of the very latest technology: the new Urban Alma pro incorporates automatic teat cleaning with disinfection and the ability to deliver doses of medications to individual calves.
A versatile new computerised calf feeder will be unveiled at the event. The new Urban Alma Pro represents the very latest in calf feeding technology and is particularly innovative because it incorporates automatic teat cleaning with disinfection. This new machine is capable of feeding up to 120 calves during the pre-weaned milk feeding period.
This new machine is a great step forward at a time when the industry is focusing on sustainable, high performance calf rearing. Helping to protect calves from teat-transmitted infections – thanks to an improved hygiene system that incorporates automatic teat cleaning with disinfection after every calf feed – and, uniquely, the ability to deliver the right dose of any necessary medications, such as electrolytes, to the right calf, at the right time, will be widely welcomed. The Urban Alma Pro also incorporates a range of other innovative features and benefits to help farmers rear better youngstock more efficiently,” says Jason Short from Volac.
He adds that the new computerised feeder is equipped with the latest touch screen technology to give users a simple overview of calf health and welfare – alerting rearers to any management issues and allowing for timely intervention as necessary – and full WiFi connectivity to allow remote access to the system on and off the farm.
“The Urban Alma Pro simplifies effective, hygienic calf feeding and eases work load for the farmer. The calf milk replacer is mixed precisely with water and an in-line temperature sensor ensures the milk always arrives at the teat at the correct temperature. The machine recognises an individual calf’s ear tag or collar when it enters the feeding station and allocates the correct milk portion and concentration accordingly. Once the calf has taken its feed the teat will re-track and be sprayed with cold water and a disinfectant solution. Machine hygiene status has also been enhanced to allow sanitisation with acid and alkali up to four times a day, which cleans and sterilises the feed lines and bowl.”
Compared with bucket feeding, the new machine will save producers 190 hours of labour time for every 120 calves reared. Group feeding also saves on individual pen bedding preparation.
Calf rearers interested in the new machine can ask for a free initial consultation to establish building layout and appropriate siting. Customers can also call on Volac representatives to set up the calf feeding programme and milk concentration levels according to individual requirements.
Learn how to rear healthier calves
At 11.30am and 1.30pm Volac nutritionist Ian Watson will be talking about how to rear healthier calves in the calf rearing zone, which Volac is sponsoring.
Free grass silage appraisals
With the important role of good quality silage in milk production, we’ll be offering farmers the opportunity to sign up for a number of free grass silage appraisals.
Available as part of Volac’s Cut to Clamp initiative launched earlier this year, which aims to help farmers produce consistently better silage by focusing on best practice methods for making and feeding silage, the appraisals will take the form of on-farm consultations with a silage expert.
They include an on-farm audit of the six key stages of cutting, wilting, harvesting, treating, clamping and feeding – aimed at identifying practical ways in which silage feed value and keeping quality can be improved.
“We realised there was a clear need for practical ways to improve silage-making after conducting a survey of over 100 dairy farmers before the start of the season,” Volac product manager, Jackie Bradley, explains.
“In the survey, nearly 80% of farmers felt they could make better grass silage, with just 19% saying they felt completely in control of how well their grass silage turned out after sealing the clamp. More significantly, the results also highlighted some significant shortcomings in silage-making techniques.
Good quality silage plays a crucial role in the sustainability of dairy farm businesses, and these are no-obligation, on-farm consultations. We’re able to offer a limited number at the event, and farmers can come to the stand to check availability throughout the day.
As well as recommendations for improving grass silage, Volac will also be offering timely tips for making maize silage, as the timing of the event coincides with preparations for forage maize harvest on many farms.
“This again follows further survey results on maize silage-making carried out last season, which also revealed shortcomings,” Mrs Bradley says.
“Despite 71% of respondents rating preventing aerobic spoilage as their biggest challenge when preserving maize silage, not all respondents were fully utilising all available methods to prevent it,” Mrs Bradley adds.