Calf Feeding, Nutrition & Supplements

We understand the importance of getting your calves off to the best possible start. Top notch management in those early days will yield big benefits once heifers enter the herd and means that dairy cross beef calves are more likely to command a better price.

Our extensive knowledge base means we can offer advice on all aspects of calf rearing, from managing the environment to providing quality nutrition, health plans and rearing protocols. Getting all of those things right will ensure heifers calve in at the target 24 months of age and beef animals perform at their optimum.

We can help identify and address pinch points on farm and design a herd specific feeding plan for your calves. All of our advice is backed up by the latest cutting edge research from around the world.

Mole Valley Farmers offers a comprehensive and cost-effective range of quality milk replacers.

Did you know?

Improving calf health and reducing antibiotic use are top of the list of priorities for dairy farmers according to findings from a recent Mole Valley Farmers’ survey

The importance of early nutrition

Every 100g of average daily gain pre weaning has been associated with 85-111kg of milk in the first lactation (Cornell University). That’s why investing in appropriate nutrition in early life will pay dividends. That means feeding the right calf milk replacer at the right rate, together with an appropriate concentrate to ensure calves grow at the target 700-800g per day.

Getting off to a healthy start

We all know that healthy calves become more productive heifers; in fact 79% of 550 calf rearers surveyed by Mole Valley Farmers said boosting calf health was a priority for their business and three quarters wanted to reduce the amount of antibiotics they used to treat calves.

Tips for a healthy start

  1. Feed 10% of bodyweight in quality colostrum within the first six hours of birth.
  2. Keep age groups separate. Older calves can pass diseases to younger animals.
  3. Avoid nose to nose contact between groups so if a disease outbreak occurs, it doesn’t spread.
  4. Avoid drafts! drafts at calf level are a no no. If you think it’s a problem, provide areas they can shelter in, such as up against a straw bale.
  5. Milk feeding rates will need to be increased when temperatures drop otherwise calves will partition energy into keeping warm rather than growing. Providing calf jackets is also a way to help calves keep warm and growing when it’s cold.
  6. Feed a specific calf concentrate designed to meet their needs.
  7. Focus on hygiene – feeding equipment, bedding and the environment must be clean. Remember – cleaning and disinfection are different. Cleaning is more important. Preventing faecal/oral contamination is the number one way to prevent scours.
  8. Avoid damp environments – excess moisture, for example from leaky roofs or poorly drained floors can increase the chance of disease and particularly respiratory problems.

Specialist calf products

We can advise on specific feeding programmes for your farm and we have a wide range of quality calf milk replacers, course mixes and pellets to meet the needs of the calf.

Find full details of our full product range of milk powders here.


OmniGen-AF® is a feed supplement aimed at supporting natural immune function during expected and unexpected stress events (eg. weaning and dehorning). It’s available in our specially designed Ambition compounds and OmniSmart calf milk replacers, exclusively available through Mole Valley Farmers.

  • Trial work carried out in Pennsylvania found that Holstein bull calves fed OmniGen-AF® for the first 20 weeks of life required less veterinary medicine intervention, leading to a 43% reduction in medicine cost.
  • 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.

Youngstock research & development

We are constantly looking at the latest developments in youngstock research and integrating findings into our feeding programmes. We work closely with a number of research institutes around the world to ensure we’re always innovating.

Some of the calf projects we’re involved in include:

  • A CIEL-funded project at Nottingham University looking at protein feeding strategies to help lower the carbon footprint and financial costs of heifer rearing.
  • Looking at the impact of protein level and energy type in dry feed on the growth and development of calves with the University of Reading.