Ad-Lib Milk Warming System Could Help Meet New Calf Rearing Rules

Ad-Lib Milk Warming System Could Help Meet New Calf Rearing Rules

A low cost, ad-lib milk feeding system that warms milk on demand could be an attractive option for farmers needing to adhere to new calf rearing rules introduced by Arla.

Under current Arla 360 contract requirements, no healthy calf can be slaughtered or euthanised before eight weeks old. From the end of 2020, this will roll-out to all Arla farmers. Producers can either choose to rear calves themselves or sell them on to a rearer who will take them to over eight weeks.

This could mean that farmers have higher numbers of calves on farm - particularly if they fall under TB restrictions and are unable to sell calves to another rearer.

With this in mind, Pyon Products’ Gill Dickson says the Heatwave ad-lib milk feeding system - that warms milk on demand - could provide an effective solution for rearing calves.

“The Arla UK 360 requirements are all about ensuring every calf has a value and giving every animal a good start,” she says. “With labour pressures on farm, finding a low input, cost effective milk feeding system that promotes good milk intakes and calf growth is a must. That’s where the Heatwave can come in.”

The Heatwave system can be used with whole milk or calf milk replacer. A cold bucket of milk is positioned outside a pen. When a calf sucks on a milk bar, the cold milk is sucked along a pipe and through a heat exchanger, which warms the milk to feeding temperature.

Heatwave won the RABDF Livestock Machinery and Equipment Award at The Livestock Event 2015 and has numerous benefits:

Cost effective - One Heatwave unit feeds 30 calves. To feed 100 calves ad lib would be one tenth the cost of a fully computerised milk feeding system.

Helps labour efficiencies - Removes the need to mix warm milk at specific times of the day. The milk can be stored and fed at any time of the day, freeing up labour.

Welfare friendly - An ad-lib, warm milk feeding system is as close as you get to feeding off mum, making it very welfare friendly.

Maximises intakes - A calf needs around 6 litres of milk a day for maintenance and to grow 700g/day. Calves prefer to drink warm milk, rather than cold. They also don’t need to direct energy towards warming milk in their stomach and can partition it for growth instead.

Aids growth rates - Calves tend to grow quicker on an ad-lib system. For example, a two week old dairy calf taking 8-10 litres a day will achieve a daily live weight gain of about 1kg.

To find out more browse around the site, or call the Pyon Products team on, Tel: 01432 830409.