Vitulix is a feed block specifically designed for young dairy/beef calves out on Spring pasture. It is the only concentrated concentrate on the market to look after your youngstock whatever the weather.
Advantages of feeding vitulix:
- Provides 25% more energy than bagged feed
- Complements grass without replacing it
- Contains protected protein, oils and trace elements
- Includes three protected sources of copper
- Reduces bullying at the trough
- Allows younger calves to catch up with older calves
- Made using dehydrated molasses which allows controlled intakes
- Helps prevent spread of diseases via birds e.g. coccidiosis
- Reduced labour – no longer have to move troughs or carry bagged feed to calves out at grass
- Soyabean meal is used to make up the protein content of Vitulix, this is a very good quality protein. Vitulix contains a proportion of selenised yeast which is the most effective source of selenium to increase selenium status in the animal blood, muscle and milk. The antioxidant properties of selenium, should enhance the animals overall health and productivity significantly. For calves it is particularly important to help improve their immune status, muscle development, and reduce risks of occurrence of muscular deficiencies.
- Protected zinc is included for regular functioning of the immune system and also has a positive effect on the calves’ skin and hoof health.
- Vitulix contains substantial amounts of vitamin A, D3 and E, these are very beneficial to the immune system of the growing calf. Supplementing calves with adequate vitamins during the grazing season is important as often changes in environment can cause stress which in turn can have negative effects on the immune system.
- 120 to 150g/head/day – ideally place 1 bucket per 15-20 calves
- Pack size: 25kg tub
A mineral lick containing 25% more energy than calf concentrates is enabling grass-reared heifers to achieve a 24-month calving target. Vitulix, a lick specifically designed for young calves at grass, is introduced to three to four-month-old heifer replacements reared by father and son, Philip and Conor Beausang, when they are turned out to grass and taken off concentrate feed.
Efficiency is at the heart of the Beausangs’ spring-calving dairy system at Grange, a Teagasc monitor farm in County Waterford; here they milk a herd of 120 Holstein Friesian cows. The family switched to dairying from suckler production in 2011, installing a second-hand eight-stall herringbone parlour and later adding a further four units. The enterprise started with 45 cows and 40,000 gallons of quota and the herd has grown year on year, to the current 120 cows.
Maintaining mineral levels at the correct amounts is an important consideration in the Beausangs’ approach to rearing heifer replacements. Calves are weighed at regular intervals to monitor weights for breeding targets. Not only does Vitulix provide Philip and Conor’s calves with their mineral requirements but it contains 25% more energy than calf ration.
Taken on a ‘little and often’ basis, it complements grass intake and rumen development. Dr Amanda Dunn, of Uniblock, which manufactures Vitulix, said smaller calves can consume what they need and this helps them to keep up with the rest of the group.
“Smaller calves get less meal at the trough compared to the older and bigger calves but with Vitulix they can consume what they need, she said.”
Vitulix is made with evaporated molasses so each block is over 95% dry matter. To achieve this, 800kg of fresh molasses is added to 400kg of dry ingredients to produce 1 tonne of product. It is balanced with protected minerals, fat and proteins to ensure maximum dry matter intakes and protection.
Will Quinn of Jim Quinn Farm Supplies, who introduced the Beausangs to Vitulix, said the top layer of the product can be licked whilst the new, exposed layer needs time to soften; this means that while the product is highly palatable, intakes are very controlled. “Vitulix is also ideal for feeding with good silage to weanlings,’’ he said.
A mineral lick costing as little as 13 cents/calf/day gives heifers at a County Cork dairy farm 24-hour access to protected nutrients. Michael Flavin runs a spring-calving herd of 85 Friesian cows on the outskirts of Youghal; the herd produces an annual milk yield average of 7,000 litres.
At three to four months old, calves are introduced to Vitulix, a concentrated lick packed with protected nutrients and yeast. Michael offers it to them before he withdraws meal. He calculates that feeding Vitulix costs him around 13 cents per head per day – and he is making savings on meal during the grazing season.
“Using Vitulix is less hassle than meal, it means I don’t have to carry meal to the field every day,’’ he says. An added benefit is that birds don’t forage on the lick, unlike meal. “I am not paying to feed the birds as I would be if I fed meal in a feeding trough,’’ Michael says. This may also reduce potential cases of coccidiosis as birds are known carriers of this contagious, scour-causing disease.
Vitulix is made with evaporated molasses so each block is over 95% dry matter. To achieve this, 800kg of fresh molasses is added to 400kg of dry ingredients to produce 1 tonne of product. It is balanced with protected mineral, fat and proteins to ensure maximum dry matter intakes and protection and contains 25% more energy than regular calf ration.
Michael has noticed that his calves are more satisfied and content on Vitulix because they can come and go as they please. He places buckets close to a water trough to enhance intakes. Approximately 80 of his calves consume two 25kg buckets every 10 days, which equates to 62.5g/head/day. Will Quinn of Jim Quinn Farm Supplies, who introduced Michael to Vitulix, said it can be digested efficiently.
“Just like there are calves that drink milk fast, there are calves that eat ration fast and by putting calves of different ages together it will exaggerate the problem. “But with Vitulix, the calves can only lick so much at a time and it can therefore be digested more efficiently.’’