FeedComp for Calves monitors each of the inputs for liquid calf rations and can even automate the mixing process with the right equipment setup.
Sophisticated feeding practices have proliferated dairies across the United States. Rations are perfectly balanced, nearly automated and designed for maximum production and efficiency.
However, there is still a vast area of opportunity in the space of dairy calf nutrition and feeding. The first four months of a calf’s life are critical for the animal’s overall growth and health, but specifically in the area of rumen development. According to the Penn State University Extension, a calf’s evolution from a simple-stomached monogastric to a fully-formed ruminant is one of the most important components of a calf’s development and long-term productivity. Inconsistent feeding also leads to operational waste and, worse, disease such as scouring.
That’s why it’s absolutely critical for dairy and cow-calf operations to maintain tight control over their liquid feed rations. With new tools and technology that fully automate the calf ration formulation, that job has been made significantly more consistent and transparent. One such technology is FeedComp for Calves, a component of Valley Agricultural Software’s FeedWatch platform.
Like FeedWatch, which monitors feed use, inputs, purchasing, animal intakes and cost, FeedComp for Calves monitors each of the inputs for liquid calf rations and can even automate the mixing process with the right equipment setup. Using an automated system like FeedComp for Calves gives users full transparency into the feeding protocol that historically has been an opaque process where employees are required to mix rations to the best of their ability, without any real visibility into actual quantities being added to a ration.
On cow-calf operations where hundreds of calves are being fed, it was always a challenge to determine if nutrition and feeding protocols were linked with health issues or how it was impacting development. With FeedComp for Calves, producers can see directly what and how much their calves are consuming, and how those trends are linked with their overall health and development.
The FeedComp for Calves system uses a programmable touchscreen interface that integrates directly into the operation’s mixing equipment, controlling all liquid and solid inputs. That information is then fed to reporting software on the back end that shows a variety of data points including adjustments to the ration and input levels so that operators can track consistency and any aberrations that could lead to health concerns or development blips.
With FeedComp for Calves, producers can see directly what and how much their calves are consuming, and how those trends are linked with their overall health and development.
Raising Healthy Calves, Along with Safety and Efficiency
There are operations across the United States with 150,000 or more calves and, in many cases, those animals don’t enter their tracking system until they leave their hutches. Dairies and calving operations can gain increased efficiencies by having additional insight into the exact diets of their calves, and how that data is impacting their growth and health. This visibility gives operators real-time control over their ration compounds, leading to increased long-term viability and production of those animals.
Safety is another space where efficiencies can be drawn by FeedComp for Calves. On an average cow-calf operation that isn’t currently using automated mixing equipment, workers are tasked with lifting and shuffling multiple 100-pound bags of feed ingredients onto the mixing platform multiple times per day for each feeding. By eliminating that risk, you can potentially cut down on employee hours and definitely eliminate safety concerns related to the manual mixing process.