Milne Feeds has experience in feeding pastoral cattle and working stock horses and can provide you with a feeding solution to help your business.
For the last four years we have successfully assisted pastoralists grow early weaned calves by enhancing rumen development using the high quality Calfgro®. Our new Maxipro®, with 30% CP and mineral concentrate is ideal for those who have sorghum and wish to improve growth rates. The by-pass protein in Maxipro®, will also improve growth rates of cattle fed on dry native pastures.
Milne Feeds can help you to ensure that cattle don’t miss the boat while prices are reasonable!
Working Horse Cubes and Horse Museli have been designed and priced for the pastoral region. We welcome direct enquires at Perth prices.
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Bonney Downs Station, located 110km south of Marble Bar in the Pilbara, has for the last four years integrated the station with properties in the northern agricultural region. The station runs a cow/calf operation and for a number of years has focused on genetic improvement and weaner quality, by using a mix of Santa Gertrudis, Shorthorn and Droughtmaster bulls. Each year the station trucks around 7,000 head down to their Enneabba finishing farms run by Dan Young who prepares the cattle for various markets. To do this, Dan places enormous emphasis on handling, both in and out of the yards and using his horses. The other part of the equation is Easybeef.
When visited in early November, Dan was busy putting the tail of this year’s arrivals through the feedlot. A meticulous cattleman, Dan measures everything and gave details of his success using Easybeef which has been an integral part of the farm’s operation for the past four years.
“When they arrive we grade them and background them until they are about 260kg before going into the feedlot on Easybeef”. We prefer to sell at a weight of 320 kgs or better, depending on the market. He said, “this mob of 1007 are the tail. They cost $2.40 per head a day to run and I expect them to gain an average of 2kg per head across the herd per day. With Easybeef, if you’re not getting 2kg a day growth, something’s wrong! It might be flies or something else but if they’re not putting on 2kg a day (on Easybeef) I know something’s wrong.”
Dan also mentioned he had an earlier mob through the feedlot during Spring that averaged 2.4kg gain per day. “The conditions were perfect” he said.
Milne Feeds have spent a number of years developing the Easybeef pellet which is simple to use and 100% safe, so clients get the performance that they need, without having to ever worry about acidosis, swollen hocks or hot feet. EasyBeef is a product that can help the pastoralist or the southern cattle producer to value add their own livestock as minimal infrastructure and equipment is required to feed cattle. So before selling your weaner to someone else who will them make the additional returns from finishing it, give some consideration of using EasyBeef to capture this additional value for yourself. If you have any questions or would like to place an order, please call Milne Feeds on 9351 0700
“We have used Milne Agri Feeds Calfgro product at Yougawalla Pastoral Company for four years now. The product has been used for feeding early weaned calves down to 80kgs in order to avoid the cost of a second round muster and maintain condition on breeding cows during the dry season by removing their calves earlier. We have found the product to be very good for converting young calves stomachs and helping them though the weaning process to allow them to keep going forward once they are placed on native pasture. Our kids feed Milne Calfgro to their bottle fed poddy calves to get them ready for weaning too.”
– Haydn Sale, Manager.
“Seasonal conditions in our environment can require radical weaning in order to maintain breeder condition. To care for these calves we have been feeding Calfgro for two seasons now. We feed pellets ad lib along with dry standing feed and it is surprising how little Calfgro is required to set up 90+ kg weaners. Once weaners reach 130kg they are taken off pellets.
The main difficulty we encountered was crows and cockatoos eating the ad lib Calfgro, but this was eliminated by not feeding oaten or sorghum hay while feeding pellets nearby. The most impressive aspect of this program is how well these weaners maintain the condition they gain on Calfgro, even when on comparatively poor pasture.”
– Anne Marie Huey, Manager
“We have used Calfgro pellets at Myroodah Station to feed early weaned and weaker poddy calves since 2011. Most of the pellet feeding happens during the second round as I am happy to heavy wean to look after cow condition. However I will feed Calfgro pellets to weaker calves early in the season if required. Previously we would turned these weaker calves out into the paddock, where they went “cooking for themselves”, hoping that they would improve once on the river country, but so often we noticed that they never did. A few weeks on Calfgro pellets seems to give these weaker calves the start that they need and they can handle the paddock feed better.
We will wean calves as small as 80-90 kgs and feed them on Calfgro and paddock feed (balage if required) until they get to 120-130 kgs. We have them in a paddock close to the yards so that we can regularly take the tops out of the mob. Getting the calves into the yards for a draft is a simple as starting the bobcat and watching the weaners come running.
In 2011 we fed about 700 weaker poddies and smaller weaners, but last year, with better management, we only fed about 300. It makes a real difference to these calves that would otherwise struggle, after all, they are all worth money.”
– Chris Daniels, Manager
“At Kalyeeda we have used the Calfgro pellets for three years with calves that we have weaned down to 80 kgs. We normally heavy wean during the second round although last year we also heavy weaned kgs with the first round as feed was tight and we wanted to look after cow condition.
When the calves are weaned, we train them to Calfgro in the yards for 4-5 days, making hay available. We then put the calves in the cooler paddock for a further 4-5 days by which time the calves all know what the pellet is and are eating. The weaners are then walked to a holding paddock with good feed and we hand feed the pellets. We do not over do the feeding because the aim is to get the rumen working so that the weaner can make better use of the dry paddock feed. We keep an eye on the dung and can see when the rumen is starting to function.
When the weaners reach about 110 kgs, we take the tops off every 7-10 days. This is important as the bigger calves eat more pellets.
In 2014 we fed about 220 light weight weaners from the first round and then another 340 from the second round. We used about 20T of Calfgro in total which I feel is very cost effective.
We will continue to wean heavy where necessary, knowing that the Calfgro pellet gives these calves a good start, before going out onto paddock feed.”
– Peter Camp, Owner/Manager.
At Minderoo we function on a one round muster to cut operating expenses. In the last 6 months we had an 84% weaning, so we are happy with how things are operating. The key is being able to wean down to 80 kgs without comprising calf growth, as this stimulates fertility, especially in the higher Bos content cows.
We put the small weaners onto CalfGro, a high energy and by-pass protein pellet, with the objective to stimulate rumen development. They must have access to good quality hay. We do this until they get to 140 kgs, by which stage the rumen has the papillae developed and it is functioning efficiently. We find that we can get average daily gains of 1-1.2kgs which is economic at the current prices.
We put 6 bulka bags of Calfgro into a round self feeder, with a trough and put the calves straight onto the pellet. There is always good hay available. There is never a problem getting the new small calves onto the pellet as they learn from the larger ones that may have been there for 3-6 weeks. We draft the bigger ones out every 3-4 weeks.
While some may spook at the cost of the pellets without knowing the full financial benefits, I find that even if I broke even on the feeding of the calf and we do better than this, we have just stimulated a 25% increase in fertility by taking the calf off the cow and getting her back in calf. Especially with higher Bos cattle, up to 75% struggle to cycle when they have a calf on them. By weaning down to 80 kgs and growing the calf on the pellet, I get these cows active again. The real economic gain of weaning and feeding the calves, is the increased fertility and more calves next muster.
By feeding the calf and developing the rumen we get better feed conversion of paddock feed, but if they go into a feedlot or onto a boat, they will also perform better. I know that the cattle that have been on pellets at some stage in their life are preferred as they know what happens in a trough and they get onto feed sooner. Their developed rumen can make better use of this feed.
Weaning down to 80 kgs and feeding the calves on the high energy, high by-pass protein CalfGro pellet so that we can operate a single round muster, with higher fertility and good calf growth will continue to be part of what we do at Minderoo.
– Ben Wratten, Manager.
We have been using CalfGro and EasyBeef for the last 3 years. We use the CalfGro for our younger weaners – those less than 120 kgs. It means that we take care of every weaner on the place and ensure that they get a real good start. It is something that we will continue to do and I can see that with the price of cattle that it will be normal practice for most stations as it really does give the small wean a good start.
EasyBeef is used for those cattle that we need to hold back in the yards. We know that with the EasyBeef that they will get a really good feed, which does not always happen with hay.
CalfGro and EasyBeef have worked well for us and we already have some on hand for this muster.
– David Stoate, Owner/ Manager.
At the start of last year we were in drought and we had a heap of very poor calves in the 100-120 kgs range. We took a punt and decided to feed them in small holding paddocks that had a little bit of dry paddock feed, with the CalfGro pellets. We did not have any hay, but there was enough roughage in the limited paddock feed to balance the pellets. There were no issues with feeding the CalfGro pellets. I thought that I would feed the calves to a certain date and if it rained by then, I would have calves that would go ahead on the green feed. If it did not rain, I would at least have had healthy calves to sell.
Fortunately, it rained just before my cut-off date and I was surprized how good the calves looked. Their coats had improved, their “guts” /rumen were tucked in and functioning well and I could not believe how well they improved when they went onto some green feed following the rain. I guess that because their rumens had been progressed and developed, they could efficiently convert the green feed when it did come. They turned into really good cattle.
If it had not rained, I did at least have good healthy calves that would of sold and at reasonable prices. To have done nothing would of possibly resulted in some losses, but certainly I would have had a large number of very poor calves that would have been hard to sell.
CalfGro is “gold” for when you are having a tight time with young calves, or if you want to only do “one lap” and wean early. It is just a great way to feed the young calves and weaners. I will continue to use it.
We have fed/finished Mardie cattle in small holding paddocks on EasyBeef for five years now. I have a super, super simple system that works. I simply fill the feeders up and often put the cattle straight onto the EasyBeef. I don’t feed any hay with the EasyBeef, but the cattle will have access to some paddock feed.
Sometimes to save having to muster a paddock, I will feed about 2 kgs/head/day in a trough near the gate for a few days. It brings the cattle to the gate and gets them used to the pellets. But I often just put the cattle straight onto the EasyBeef.
While I have had small micky bulls put on 2.5 to even 3 kgs a day on EasyBeef, I am happy to say that the long term average gain over bigger cattle in hot and not so hot conditions is about 1.6 kgs/head/day gain. But I am really happy with this as I get the animal that I want and I do it simply.
The year before last I fed one mob in another feedlot. The butcher complained that the cattle were too fat, that they had too much trim and that the meat was not as good as previously supplied. He could not wait to get the next lot which had been fed on EasyBeef. I know that with EasyBeef, I put on “real” weight in the form of muscle, not fat, which I understand is one of the features of the product. I know this to be true and my butcher certainly made the point to me.
Feeding cattle on EasyBeef is simple and it works. I get the growth and the carcass quality that I want and I am about to start my 2017 feeding program. I don’t intend to change a system that works.
– Richard Climas, Manager.
It was a tough start to the year at Koordarrie last year and I had to wean at large number of calves that were 4- 5 weeks of age and probably only 50-60 kgs , so as to look after the cow. These calves had rough, hairy coats and they were skinny with ribs showing, but they were alive and I knew that I could turn them into something if I gave them some good feed. They were put onto CalfGro with hay and fed ad lib for about 4-5 weeks, some a little longer. I was amazed with how much they changed in this time. The coat lost its hairiness, and became shinny , they put weight on and turned into good healthy calves. I managed to save and get all calves through this tough time.
We then sent them down to the farm at Badgingarra where they were placed into paddocks and fed EasyBeef pellets at the same time. It was a couple of months before I next saw these calves and I could not believe how well they had gone ahead. By feeding these very poor little calves on CalfGro for a short time and then continued with EasyBeef down at the farm, we turned around what could have been a terrible season for us.
Last year I also fed a number of 160-200 kgs Mickies on pellets, down at the farm. The aim was to get them up to a good saleable weight and I found that the pellets gave them the real boost that they needed, especially while the pasture was just getting started.
This year I am hoping to be able to have pellets available for the smaller Mickies when I cut them so as to provide them with a boost of energy at what can be a stressful time. I feel that anything that I can do with regards to low stress handling will pay in the short and long term.
Feeding CalfGro and EasyBeef will be part of what we do on Koordarrie from now on.
– Rory de Pledge, Owner.
With last year being so very dry and we chose the option of feeding CalfGro® pellets as a “dry season” management strategy. Feeding the pellets was expensive and hurt the financials in a year when income from sales was down. I did the sums of feeding the pellets based on whether a calf was going to survive or not, or whether a cow was going to survive and get back in calf again. Having done this early on and seeing that the rain did not come, I was certainly able to justify using the pellets. I knew how many cows and weaners I had to save to cover the cost of the pellets and this justified me spending the money.
I spent the money on the CalfGro® pellets and weaned very early, down to 50 kgs. They went onto the pellet well, but animal management still played an important role. We had to keep the animals in their weight lines so that all animals could get access to the pellets and hay. Without careful animal management, right from the start, meaning as soon as we pulled them off the cows in the bush yard they were separated from the larger weaners, put straight on clean water, hay and then pellets and we also put them through a weaner handling program. I don’t think that I would of got the response that we did, if not for the bit of extra care.
I keep a good track of my cows on a computer record system and so far through the muster I am able to tell now that most of last year’s wet cows did get pregnant during the bad dry and they are about to calve in the next few months. A lot of these cows got in calf during October and November which was the worst bit of the year. Weaning hard, putting the calves on CalfGro pellets and trying to hold cow condition looks as though it will give me more calves this season and justifies the money that I spent.
While I did my sums on wanting to keep calves and cows alive so that I would have income when the rain did come, another very important factor for me in deciding to feed the pellets was the commitment to animal welfare. I wanted to look after the cows and their condition and to get them through a horrible time. Back last year I did not know that it was going to rain this January and I knew that I had to take care of these cows and the weaners to get them through this dry time. Like most pastoralists, I care for my animals and I was not going to let them die.
We trucked all of these weaners to the farm at Badgingarra where we continued to give them access to the pellets while they grazed on pastures. Good animal management was again important in getting these small weaners adjusted and going ahead. Small weaners that may not have survived at Yarrie had we not fed pellets, are now 250-300 kgs animals that we are backgrounding to sell into a range of markets once they are heavier. We have recently been feeding them on EasyBeef® in the feedlot for anywhere from 40-70 days, which again is expensive, but I worked out that we needed to get more than 1.5 kgs/Day average daily gain. They have been doing better than this, mainly around 1.6-1.7 and it has allowed us to sell cattle with condition rather than having to dump cattle onto the store market. It gives flexibility when selling and I can still set the price that I want to sell at. Adding more value to my cattle is the path we are focussing on. Nothing is a golden egg, however having access to the option of pellets gives us more flexibility in our business.
I want to stress that making the decision to feed pellets and fork extra dollars when the business is under pressure in a dry time was not an easy decision, but I looked long term at my herd management and my desire to look after my animals. I certainly don’t regret that I paid the money, fed the pellets as part of the dry season management plan and now have cows that are calving with weaners to sell later on. Having a plan to look after my animals during the tough dry season also helped me phytologically to get through that tough period. The rain did come in January and I look back and think that I am happy with the plan that we made to manage in what was a challenging two dry seasons.
–Annabelle Coppin, Owner.
At Brooking Springs I have used CalfGro® pellets for the last three years with good results. Come August and after I have finished much of the first round, I will wean calves down as low as 50-60 Kgs. I bring them back close to the homestead and place them in a paddock with some green pick and free access to CalfGro® pellets, which I have in small feeders. I will keep them on the CalfGro® pellets for 4-5 weeks. When I see that their coats have changed from “rough and hairy” to “smooth and shiny” and I notice that the “poddy calf” belly has gone and they have put on weight, I draft the weaners off the pellets and send then out to look after themselves. I make a point of drafting the calves off the pellets every two weeks.
I hard wean and feed CalfGro® pellets during the August to early October period, to reduce the need for a second round muster, at least on some of the country. I see no point in mustering a paddock in September and turning the little calves back out with their mums, only to have to bring them in in 3-5 weeks time as part of a second round. It avoids mis-mothering and by taking the calves off the cow, it does help to maintain cow condition which this should help with getting them back in calf.
Last year I early weaned and fed on CalfGro® pellets about 250-300 calves and I will probably do a similar thing this year. It is simple to do and I have shown myself that it is a good way to look after calves even as small as 50-60 Kgs and I reduce the paddocks that need a second round.
– Garth Camm, Owner.
We have been using the CalfGro® at Liveringa for about 6 years, primarily for early weaning of small weaners. We are now also feeding steers to a shipper weight. Liveringa has a small feedlot and feeding weaners has become part of our management. It promotes calf survival and helps get more cows in calf.
I like the CalfGro® pellet because it is simple, straight forward and safe.
I like the fact that we can just put the little calves straight onto feed. We are constantly adding to the pens and don’t have time to slowly introduce the calves. While for the first few years we fed the CalfGro® in feeders and made hay/haylage available, today we mix the CalfGro® with the chopped silage and feed the calves in bunks. The calves are easy to look after, we may need to separate shy feeders into a smaller pen, but really apart from feeding they require little management.
Calves enter the feedlot between 90-120 kg. We I draft them out of the feed yard at 140 -150 kg. The aim is to push them up to the same weight as the other paddock weaners and get good rumen development.
Being able to feed weaners on CalfGro® has given me options. Weaning is the most important tool that we have. It helps improve breeder condition and conception rates and having the feed yard allows me to wean whenever I need to.
In the first round I will wean calves down to 90 kgs and put them in the feedlot with CalfGro®, leaving fewer cows supporting a calf through the dry and, if not already, these cows will go back in calf. I do the same in September/October with 2nd round weaners. During the first round we preg test all “dry” cows. I segregate those cows that will calve in the May to August. As a last job before the stock camp finishes up, I can wean most of these May-August calves into the feed yard.
Previously, without the flexibility of the feed yard and CalfGro®, these calves would have gone through the wet season with the cow and she would invariably turn up next year wet and empty. Weaning their calves onto CalfGro® allows those breeders to go back to the bull over the wet.
A side benefit of this weaning strategy is the reduction in the dry lick consumption. Weaning takes the pressure off the wet cows and I don’t need to target those cattle that are not supporting a calf.
Weaning down to 90 kgs and feeding those in the 90-140 Kg range is now part of our management at Liveringa. As I said previously, weaning is one of the best tools that we have when trying to produce more calves. And, with the use of CalfGro® pellets, I can confidently wean at a lighter weight.
– Jed O’Brien, Manager.