Home' NZ Dairy Farmer : August 2010 Contents The Dairyman AUGUST 2010 65
MAJOR sales growth in a depressed
market -- that was the result for
Donaghys ProCalf during the 2009
calf rearing season on the back of smart new
marketing and promotion.
Now the company is gearing up for anoth-
er positive result in 2010.
Dairy Beef and Sheep manager Doug
Mackenzie says using feedback from calf
rearers themselves helped lift awareness of
the product last season.
"We used television advertising for the
first time and sponsored the Dairy Women's
Network; we also introduced new live
microbes to the ProCalf formula. Combined,
these things really helped put ProCalf on the
map, as it were."
Developed by and licensed from
AgResearch, the new microbes were part of
a joint research initiative between Donaghys
and the CRI.
Mr Mackenzie said a key selling factor for
end users was the health of ProCalf calves.
"We had one rearer from Hawke's Bay
who phoned us and said in the past he'd
always had dietary problems and scours with
his calves, but after using ProCalf he had no
problems at all."
That reiterates the experience of Tania
Jones, the North Canterbury calf rearer who
became the face of ProCalf last season.
In 2008, she only had to remove one calf
for scours from a total of 525 reared; last
year she didn't have to remove any out of
The immediacy of the "no scours" mes-
sage had obviously struck a chord, said Mr
Other potential benefits from ProCalf
include earlier weaning and better perform-
ance as adults, but in the stress of calf raising
the short-term benefits can be more com-
"People know that raising calves well is a
challenge, and when they do get sick, it takes
a lot of input to get them right again."
ProCalf is a mix of probiotic digestion
enhancers and targeted enzymes, designed to
aid rumen formation and help calves make
the most efficient use of their rations.
At around $5 per calf through to weaning,
it's cost effective, it's easy to administer, and
it can be conveniently incorporated into a
For more detail phone Donaghys 0800 942
Rearers keen on calf supplement
WITH 18 years of calf rearing
under her belt, Donna Watson
knows a thing or two about grow-
ing healthy happy calves. Using probiotics
to ensure the calves' welfare is now stan-
dard routine on Parekarangi, an 809ha
(2000 acres) farm five minutes from
Every year, Donna raises about 300
calves and in the past 18, her calves have
never been infected by rotavirus, and only
once has there been a case of the scours --
16 years ago.
"I'm very particular about who I let in
my shed," says Donna. "I only let the vet in
once I've washed his boots down with
detergent. They go from farm shed to farm
shed and you never know how clean the
previous shed was.
"In general I don't let men in the shed
either. They don't have the patience neces-
sary for rearing calves, they aren't consci-
entious about keeping things clean and if a
calf is sick there's no way they'd visit it two
or three times a day."
Three years ago, Donna started using the
probiotic when the local Donaghys territory
manager gave her a sample. "I used it when
we dehorned the calves. They were stressed
when we put them under and again when
they woke up so I put a few mls of ProCalf
in their milk and they calmed down. After
that I was hooked."
Since then, Donna has used ProCalf to
keep her calves healthy and stress free.
"The healthier they are the less likely it is
they'll need antibiotics, which is always a
"Yes, ProCalf costs. My husband, Steve,
moans about it but I just tell him one sea-
son's worth of ProCalf is cheaper than a vet
callout for one of his ailing cows. These are
our replacement stock. They need to be as
healthy as possible before I hand them over
to my husband."
When the calves first arrive in the shed
after being born, Donna puts a couple of
mls of ProCalf in their milk. "It gives them
a bit of a boost. I also do this with those that
have been transported from other farms as
they're usually quite stressed."
Throughout the season if a calf looks like
it is ailing, Donna gives them a few mls in
their milk to help them out and again when
they are being dehorned.
"Last year I had the calves out in the pad-
dock way earlier than normal -- we're talk-
ing weeks ahead of schedule."
Donna Watson with one of her calves.
Raising healthy and stress free calves
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