Farmers can now rear calves more hygienically and deliver any necessary specific feed additives into a target animal’s individual milk portion, thanks to the launch of a versatile new automatic feeding machine set up from Volac.
Launched at UK Dairy Day today, the new Urban Alma Pro represents the very latest in computerised calf feeding technology and is capable of feeding up to 120 calves during the pre-weaned milk feeding period.
“This new machine is a great step forward at a time when the industry is focusing on sustainable, high performance calf rearing. Helping to protect calves from teat-transmitted infections – thanks to an improved hygiene system that incorporates automatic teat cleaning with disinfection after every calf feed – and, uniquely, the ability to deliver the right dose of any necessary medications, such as electrolytes, to the right calf, at the right time, will be widely welcomed. The Urban Alma Pro also incorporates a range of other innovative features and benefits to help farmers rear better youngstock more efficiently,” said Jason Short from Volac.
He added that the new computerised feeder is equipped with the latest touch screen technology to give users a simple overview of calf health and welfare – alerting rearers to any management issues and allowing for timely intervention as necessary – and full WiFi connectivity to allow remote access to the system on and off the farm.
“The Urban Alma Pro simplifies effective, hygienic calf feeding and eases workload for the farmer. The calf milk replacer is mixed precisely with water and an in-line temperature sensor ensures the milk always arrives at the teat at the correct temperature. The machine recognises an individual calf’s ear tag when it enters the feeding station and allocates the correct milk portion and concentration accordingly. Once the calf has taken its feed the teat will re-track and be sprayed with cold water and a disinfectant solution. Machine hygiene status has also been enhanced to allow sanitisation with acid and alkali up to four times a day, which cleans and sterilises the feed lines and bowl.”
Volac calculates that compared with bucket feeding, the new machine will save producers 190 hours of labour time for every 120 calves reared. Group feeding also saves on individual pen bedding preparation.
Calf rearers interested in the new machine can ask for a free initial consultation to establish building layout and appropriate siting. Customers can also call on Volac representatives to set up the calf feeding programme and milk concentration levels according to individual requirements.