FEEDING CALVES an essential oil as part of early weaning rations results in higher liveweight gains and reduced incidence of scours, according to a recent trial.

 A study on a Staffs dairy farm found that calves fed an 18% concentrate containing the essential oil product OreGin gained 11% more liveweight from birth to 12 weeks old.

 “From weaning to 12 weeks old this increase was more marked, with OreGin-fed calves gaining 20% more liveweight than their control group counterparts,” says Simon Marsh, of Harper Adams University College, who ran the trial.

 Total feed intake of calves fed treated feed was 4% higher and this, together with the reduced incidence of scours, resulted in an average extra 5.2kg gain in liveweight.

 “This improved performance and reduction in scours is worth about 10 a calf. When the cost of OreGin and the additional feed is taken into account, this gives a net gain of 9.22 a calf,” he says.