The Prehn family emigrated from Germany to establish Prehn Brook Farms in Ripley in western Ontario, Canada. They have expanded the farm step by step over the last 25 years and now milk 300 cows.
This article is about:
Many years of experience with calf feeders
They had already been using their first calf feeder, an HL100, to feed the calves with milk replacer since 2006. Then, in 2012, they built a new enclosed calf barn with a curtain ventilation system and moved the HL100 into it.
The calves did well, but the results could have been better, which is why they thought about what could be done to improve the growth rates of their calves.
After visiting several other farms, the Prehn family was impressed by calves that were fed on whole milk. They decided to purchase a DoubleJug milk tank in 2019. From that moment on, their calves were fed whole milk using the HL100 calf feeder.
Renovation and optimisation of the old barn
In 2022, part of the existing barn for young cattle was renovated. The slurry pit was brought back into operation and modified to create negative pressure under the slatted floor. The aim is to draw off the ammonia at nose level of the calves in order to improve air quality. This approach gives a very promising impression following the first few months.
The new generation of calf feeder – the CalfExpert – was purchased for the renovated barn, along with a new DoubleJug. The tank is now managed directly via the CalfExpert software.
All milk-carrying parts of the system are cleaned automatically, including the milk hose that connects the DoubleJug to the CalfExpert.
The new HygieneStations with their automatic learning function and teat cleaning proved to be such an improvement that months later the old HL100 with the over 15-year-old feeding stations was also replaced by a new CalfExpert with HygieneStations.
Modern data management with CalfGuide
It is now much easier to monitor the systems with the free CalfGuide app on a mobile phone or tablet, as important calf data is available to see at a glance at any time of the day. And although the two feeding systems are located in two different barns and about 400 m apart, Madison Prehn can always keep an eye on his calves using the CalfGuide app.
The Prehn family train the calves on the CalfExpert feeder at the age of just 2-3 days, which allows them to quickly adapt to the system and achieve consistent feeding behaviour, leading to strong, healthy calves.
A desire for the future: better-quality air through ammonia monitoring
“The old H&L 100 was also great, but training at such an early age is only possible using the HygieneStation on the CalfExpert,” says Madison Prehn with great satisfaction.
“We now want to optimise the ventilation system and we are in the process of installing an AmmoniaDetect unit to measure ammonia levels continuously at the CalfExpert.”