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Beef rearer targets calf well being and efficiency as a part of venture

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A Welsh beef farm is taking part in a venture which is able to see it make adjustments to calf rearing administration to enhance its future sustainability.

The Jones’ household have round 300 beef cattle, ideally sourcing calves from native dairy farms at round 10 days outdated.

These are reared in teams of 12 in separate pens in a transformed equipment shed at Graianfryn Farm, the household’s 121-hectare beef and sheep farm close to Holyhead, Anglesey.

Throughout the grazing interval they’re turned out to grass at round two weeks post-weaning on a rotational grazing system.

Gerallt, who farms along with his spouse, says calf well being and efficiency is vital to the profitability of their enterprise and to their ambition to cut back antibiotic use.

In a bid to realize this and enhance total effectivity, the Jones’ are working with Farming Join on an Our Farms focus farm venture.

The venture is utilising know-how as an assist to sustaining well being, with calves fitted with reusable tags that acquire and monitor their motion and temperature.

Humidity and temperature sensors are getting used to watch the setting in every pen to help with administration selections.

Different adjustments, guided by vet Dyfrig Williams of Wern Vets, embody establishing straw bale shelters in pens to supply safety from wind and colder temperatures.

Environmental enrichment toys have additionally been launched, together with balls and one other within the form of a star that’s proven to discourage practices comparable to navel sucking.

Totally different measures have been launched in every pen, and one pen, the place there have been no alterations, will act as a management.

The enterprise sells cattle to Morrisons or Kepak at 17-24 months, relying on the breed and their charge of progress, focusing on a deadweight of 300-330kg.

Round 20ha of barley is grown as feed for the cattle and crimson clover leys are being established this yr to provide excessive in protein silage.

“We received’t want to purchase in protein for the TMR subsequent yr,” Gerallt anticipates.

Ending instances are key to the effectivity of the system – the faster an animal will be completed the decrease the fee, and its carbon effectivity, he says.

Decreasing the quantity of antibiotics used is a key ambition too. “If an animal is wholesome, it received’t want antibiotics, our ambition is to cease utilizing them altogether,” says Gerallt.

“It’s an extended highway, however with the venture we’re taking steps in the suitable course.”


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