Mole Valley Farmers has launched Ambition - a new high quality calf feed that incorporates the speciality supplement, OmniGen-AF® - to help support immune function in youngstock.

The patented feed supplement OmniGen-AF® is proven to promote natural immune function in light of unexpected and expected stress events, leading to less health issues and reduced medicine use.

Trial work carried out in Pennsylvania found that Holstein bull calves that were fed OmniGen-AF® for the first 20 weeks of life required less veterinary medicine intervention, leading to a 43% reduction in medicine costs (1)- something which is vital considering growing pressure on farmers to reduce antibiotic use.

Additional research found that calves fed the supplement from birth to four months of age, transitioned better at weaning, leading to reduced growth checks. This meant they grew 12.5% better (2).

Ambition calf nuts and pellets are designed to complement Mole Valley Farmers’ existing Nukamel Omnismart milk replacer which includes OmniGen-AF®. This provides calves with the required dose of the feed supplement prior to weaning. Providing the new Ambition feed then ensures calves continue to be provided with OmniGen-AF® as they are weaned onto concentrate.

Dr Chris Bartram, Head of Nutrition for Mole Valley Farmers says it makes sense to feed the supplement to youngstock to help bolster their immunity at what is a crucial and often difficult time.

“However well managed calves are, they will be exposed to stresses like weaning, de-horning or fluctuations in environmental temperatures,” he explains. “Stress leads to the release of stress hormones like cortisol that can impair natural immune function, increasing the likelihood of health problems and suppressed growth rates.”

Whilst OmniGen-AF® helps avoid any growth set-backs due to stress, the 18% protein feed has also been formulated to maximise growth and help farmers achieve an optimum age at first calving of 24 months. This fits with Mole Valley Farmers’ Lifetime Dairy initiative, which aims to maximise the lifetime performance of the dairy herd.

The feed includes ingredients such as barley, wheat gluten, wheat feed, maize grain, soya and sugar beet pulp and has been formulated using Mole Valley Farmers’ Precision Nutrition nutrients - including carbohydrate type, fibre index and acid load - to encourage dry matter intake, high daily live weight gain and improved lifetime yield.

Somerset dairy farmer, Phil Roberts has been feeding Ambition calf nuts as part of field trial work for Mole Valley Farmers and has been struck by the results.

He says: “Since we have been feeding the Ambition youngstock nut, the cattle have been more resistant to disease and are growing quicker. We have noticed a significant reduction in the treatments for pneumonia this winter.”

Ideally, calves should be eating 1.5kg/day of the feed before weaning. They can then move on to 2-4kg/head/day up to 300kg. Ideally, OmniGen-AF® would then be incorporated into feed again, eight weeks before first calving and fed through the lifetime of the animal, to underpin immune function.

The benefits of feeding OmniGen-AF® to lactating and dry cows has already been seen on a number of British herds who have been feeding the product following its launch by Mole Valley Farmers in 2016. This includes a 37% reduction in mastitis and 15% reduction in metritis on the 15 farms enrolled in an immunity challenge where the product was fed for 180 days.

>> To find out more contact the Mole Valley Farmers FeedLine on Tel: 01278 444829.