Weaning is a stressful period during which a calf is forced to adapt from a diet of predominantly milk to a diet of forage. Generally, calves are weaned at 8-10 months though the actual age depends on several factors.In severe drought, calves may be weaned as early as six weeks if managed carefully and fed a high protein diet.
Nutrition during weaning is important economically given it has a direct effect on post weaning growth, long term growth, overall health, meat quality and importantly, the reproductive performance of replacement heifers.
To maintain rumen function and minimise the stress of the weaning process, it is recommended that calves be yard weaned for 7- 10 days and fed good quality hay.If available hay is medium to low in quality, additional protein should also be provided e.g. pellets, weaner meals or protein supplements.
Once they are moved out of the weaner yards, weaners should be moved onto good pasture which is sufficiently high in protein (green content) and energy to achieve your production targets.
If weaners are forced to graze poor to moderate pastures, the following products manufactured by GrainCorp Liquid Feeds can provide essential nutrients to help achieve production targets.
Molafos Grower and Molafos Vitameal are specifically suited to 100-150kg weaners. Both are highly palatable molasses-based supplements which are highly fortified with true protein (UDP) making them ideal for young growing animals.
For weaners weighing more than 150kg, Molafos 15, Molafos 15S and Molafos 20 are ideally suited to supplying the energy and inorganic protein required by these larger weaners to help utilize poor to moderate quality pastures. Being molasses-based, these supplements, with varying levels of sourness (S) and protein (15 and 20%) are readily accepted by young stock, ensuring sufficient supplement intakes to achieve critical production targets.