Farm - 17-08-2023 - Kat Hart BVSc BSc Cert AVP(Cattle) MRCVS - 0 comments
Calf housing matters and making the most of RPA grants

September's newsletter is available here in full as a pdf 

Good calf housing is key to having healthy calves. More dairies and calf rearers have moved to automated milk machines and some people love them. However, with this comes the need to increase group size, this is always a challenge when dealing with younger calves. Ensuring that the age range is kept to a minimum is vital in a dairy or calf rearing situation. 

Controlling hygiene and having an effective vaccine protocol are good first steps to healthy group housed calves, however ventilation is equally important. Most calves are kept wherever there is space rather than in purpose-built accommodation. If you're lucky you can use the prevailing wind to your advantage to help ventilate your shed but for most people, getting fresh air in is a challenge. 

Things to bear in mind that affect ventilation:

  • Ensuring good drainage
  • Sensible stocking density
  • Limiting the age range within the same air space 
  • Positive pressure ventilation tube systems can be added to most sheds and we have used these very successfully on lots of our farms. 

Setting up a new build is a great opportunity to get these things right and future-proof your business, whether that be for herd growth, changes in contracts or labour shortages. 

There is a new grant opening this summer for calf housing, it is available for all cattle farmers that have youngstock under 6 months of age. The minimum grant you can apply for is £15,000 (40% of £37,500). The maximum grant is £500,000 per applicant business. (The minimum grant amount does not include costs associated with rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.) The aim of the grant is to improve calf health and welfare, enhance environmental sustainability and introduce innovation. Working with us will be vital as we need to provide a letter with your application.  Find out more by opening the full newsletter link at the top of this blog.


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