Higher live-weights sooner
Live-weight gains in calves reared in a FlexiTunnel can be up to 10kg higher at 6 weeks compared to animals reared in “conventional” sheds with the same fed inputs and under the same management.
Additional live-weight gains in the first most important few weeks of an animal’s life also go some way in reaching target weights at the two crucial points further down a heifer’s life, namely at mating (60%) and at calving (90%).
Evidence suggests that the majority of the country’s replacement heifers fall short of reaching expected live-weight targets. The financial implications are far reaching.
Improved calf health
Higher milk production
Heifers that reach live-weight targets produce more milk. A heifer that falls 20% below the target weight is expected to produce 10% less milk fat in her first lactation. This can equate to an average loss of around 35 kg of milk solids or about $250 at a $7 pay-out. And this represents the loss for just her first productive year! On the other hand, heifers that reach the target weights not only produce more milk, they remain productive longer.
Better reproductive performance
Heifers that reach the target weights not only produce more milk, they also have a better reproductive performance (fewer empties) and a better calving pattern.
Reduced ongoing calf rearing costs
Calf rearing with Flexitunnel livestock shelters costs you less:
Short payback period on your investment
The cost of rearing a calf in a FlexiTunnel compared to the total cost of rearing a heifer through to the first lactation is only about 1%!
Rearing heifers from birth through to their first lactation is a large financial cost in a dairy farm business. Current figures put that cost at close to $1500 for the average heifer raised in New Zealand.
The capital expense of a FlexiTunnel Calf Rearing Package (including the purpose designed yards with pens) averages between $120 and $180 per calf space, depending on individual “stocking rates” and the size of the tunnel. Assuming a conservative depreciation time of the facilities of 10 years, this would indicate that the additional cost of providing a dedicated calf rearing facility to a calf rearing operation would add as little as $15 per calf or 1% to the overall cost of rearing a heifer through to calving.