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Ten Buitelaar calf rearers visited the Netherlands this week to understand how the Dutch are making improvements in reducing antimicrobials across the supply chain.

Renier Pluim who hosted the day explained how his team studied their every day practices and securitized the basic practices to ensure good calf health.

‘Stop the calf getting sick then you won’t need to treat it’

This is looked at through a step change approach to best practices.

Colostrum 

Housing on the dairy farm

Transport 

Handling 

Ventilation 

Feeding 

Through simple but practical steps the Dutch are making a difference, also the use of natural products are helping reduce antibiotics.

 Prevention is better than cure: preventing calves from getting sick is much more cost effective rather than trying to cure illnesses. This can be assisted with adequate housing and understanding what is required. A constant comfortable temperature and a regular feed plan seems to be the general opinion in Holland. In a country with a climate not dissimilar to the UK, our Dutch counterparts are feeding over 1.6 million B&W male calves so they are always a reliable source of information with a futuristic edge.

 

‘A healthy calf is a profitable calf’ was the message: a healthy calf will have a stronger weight gain ratio, require fewer antibiotics and this all makes for a better days farming.

 

The teams visit finished with a trip to Tentago to look at the state of the art research facility which analyses calf nutrition and feeding. Tentago is a world leader in calf milk replacer production and also is the home of the Buitelaar Tentomilk. The Buitelaar enjoyed the day and had many questions around the potential of weight gains, rearing techniques and the results from milk trials that take place on the 1,800 calves Tentago house.