Hof Fischerhütte GbR holds around 500 dairy cows. 12 employees, including three trainees, work on the farm every day. Then there is the pony farm with 80 ponies – and the holiday guests, of course. The Carstens family always have a lot going on! And now even more so, because the 28-day rule has recently been introduced, which states that calves must remain on a farm for at least 28 days before they can be sold and transported. This new directive means there are more animals on the farm and this calls for ingenuity on the part of farmers. This is where our MultiMaxVeranda comes into play.
This article is about
A solution for the 28-day transport rule
Fischerhütte farm has had two MultiMaxVerandas for a good six months now – a solution that farm manager Jonas Carstens came up with together with his H&L consultant Dirk Sötje. "Our bull calves spend the first two weeks in an individual igloo, just as they did before the new regulation came into force. They are then kept in groups in the MultiMaxVeranda for a fortnight. The system works extremely well and was easy and quick to implement," says Jonas. "Working with the verandas is very efficient. You can easily move the hutches using the farmyard loader, clean them up and drive the manure away. The calves wait in the other group's area while their side is being thoroughly cleaned”.
Pasteurising and feeding with the MilkTaxi
The calves on Fischerhütte farm are provided for in the individual stalls and in the MultiMaxVerandas with a system of two 260-litre MilkTaxis. Basically, one of the taxis acts as a "small stationary milk tank" into which the milk is pumped directly from the milking parlour and then pasteurised. The milk is transferred to the mobile MilkTaxi for feeding and is then taken to the calves. The individual stalls have buckets with teats, and the calves in the MultiMaxVerandas drink from milk bars. "We have had the MilkTaxi on the farm for 15 years and it's hard to imagine life without it," says Jonas.
Uniform calf groups at the CalfExpert feeder
The female calves are housed in individual hutches at Hof Fischerhütte for four weeks before being moved to an open-front barn where they are kept in four different groups. It is here that the Holm & Laue CalfExpert “looks after” the animals in the eleven weeks that follow. The calf feeder has been on the farm for five years, providing the calves with CMR. The calf feeder also handles the task of regular weaning. “We used to have only two HygieneStations with a single large group. However, there were too many calves of different ages. Some animals left the group and others rejoined. It wasn't the best solution. Things are now much better with four groups and four HygieneStations.”
Calves on the Fischerhütte farm are given the best possible care from the moment they are born. Colostrum management was optimised four years ago with a ColoQuick system. “We also weigh our calves regularly to keep track of their weight gain. We use mobile WeightControl animal scales from Holm & Laue for this. We use them to weigh the calves after birth, when they are rehoused – at four to five weeks of age – and after weaning.”
Healthy calves also thanks to good advice
The farm manager and his employees are very happy with the current calf rearing system: “Our animals are healthy and we see good weight gains.” Jonas goes on to answer the question as to why he and his father use Holm & Laue products and how they came across us: “Holm & Laue has been our first point of contact in this field for a long time. No matter whether we have specific plans or are simply seeking general advice. We have faith in the quality and are very happy about the excellent cooperation.”
The welfare of both animals and employees is paramount on Fischerhütte Farm in Steenfeld, because sophisticated but simple systems are the best way of working. We are pleased to see how farmers, including the Carstens family, are always finding new ways to use our products to best meet their needs. Thank you very much, dear Jonas, for giving us your time and for the pleasant talk. We wish you continued success.