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  • A Pastoralist's Story - Jed O'Brien, Liveringa Station

Jed O'brian - Liveringa Station

'We have been using the CalfGro® at Liveringa for about 6 years, primarily for early weaning of small weaners. We are now also feeding steers to a shipper weight. Liveringa has a small feedlot and feeding weaners has become part of our management. It promotes calf survival and helps get more cows in calf.

I like the CalfGro® pellet because it is simple, straight forward and safe.

I like the fact that we can just put the little calves straight onto feed. We are constantly adding to the pens and don’t have time to slowly introduce the calves. While for the first few years we fed the CalfGro® in feeders and made hay/haylage available, today we mix the CalfGro® with the chopped silage and feed the calves in bunks. The calves are easy to look after, we may need to separate shy feeders into a smaller pen, but really apart from feeding they require little management.

Calves enter the feedlot between 90-120 kg. We draft them out of the feed yard at 140 -150 kg. The aim is to push them up to the same weight as the other paddock weaners and get good rumen development.

Being able to feed weaners on CalfGro® has given me options. Weaning is the most important tool that we have. It helps improve breeder condition and conception rates and having the feed yard allows me to wean whenever I need to.  

In the first round I will wean calves down to 90 kgs and put them in the feedlot with CalfGro®, leaving fewer cows supporting a calf through the dry and, if not already, these cows will go back in calf. I do the same in September/October with 2nd round weaners. During the first round we preg test all “dry” cows. I segregate those cows that will calve in the May to August. As a last job before the stock camp finishes up, I can wean most of these May-August calves into the feed yard.

Previously, without the flexibility of the feed yard and CalfGro®, these calves would have gone through the wet season with the cow and she would invariably turn up next year wet and empty. Weaning their calves onto CalfGro® allows those breeders to go back to the bull over the wet.

A side benefit of this weaning strategy is the reduction in the dry lick consumption. Weaning takes the pressure off the wet cows and I don’t need to target those cattle that are not supporting a calf.

Weaning down to 90 kgs and feeding those in the 90-140 Kg range is now part of our management at Liveringa. As I said previously, weaning is one of the best tools that we have when trying to produce more calves. And, with the use of CalfGro® pellets, I can confidently wean at a lighter weight.'