Creep feeding pays dividends
DESPITE plentiful grass, suckled calves must still be offered creep to ensure better weights and condition are achieved at sale time.
Chairman of the Brecon and Radnor suckled calf rearers Gethin Havard says that because grass is the cheapest feed producers may be tempted to try and rear calves on grass alone.
"But calves will always take creep, providing it is kept fresh. And creep feeding spring born calves from six to eight weeks pre-sale can increase liveweights by at least 25kg. The extra returns generated by this gain will more than pay for creep costs," says Mr Havard.
"Creep fed calves are also in better condition at sale and, therefore, more attractive to the buyer. This is because when fed grass alone in late summer, the diet has a low digestibility and calves carry more belly," he explains.n