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Case Studies - Dairy

Calcium Supplement

Case Study: Calcium Supplement

Product Sector: Animal Health-Calving and Supplementary Feed

Location: New Zealand

Products: Calcimate

Source / Interviewee: Sue Macky

Introducing Dairy Production Systems Ltd

Dairy Production Systems Ltd is a small boutique consultancy specialising in the nutrition and management of dairy cows.As Director Sue Macky explains, it is an unusual company by world standards.“We’re one of the very few independent companies in this field. While many others are associated with feed companies or similar, we’ve deliberately stayed independent.”

Dairy Production Systems works one-on-one with farmers, both within New Zealand and overseas, to provide on-farm advice on the management and feeding of dairy cows.Sue, who has authored a booklet for McDonald’s Lime (now Graymont)  called “Calcium in the Dairy Cow”, says the ultimate goal is to increase profitability for farmers, without compromising the welfare of animals, people or environment.“There’s a growing demand for our services, due to increased use of unfamiliar non pasture based feeds, many of which are low in calcium, and the need to make expensive land more profitable.It’s also about keeping livestock healthier, happier, more productive and profitable for longer.”

Why Graymont? 

Product efficacy

As an independent company, Dairy Production Systems does not have an exclusive relationship with Graymont.“We give the best unbiased advice,” says Sue. “Nevertheless we’re very strongly aligned with companies who offer a quality product and back-up. We’re approached by other companies on a regular basis, but we will not compromise on feed or minerals. When it comes to calcium supplementation, we recommend McDonald’s (now Graymont's) Calcimate.”

Quality processing is also important. “We’re dealing with a product that ends up in the food chain, so it’s important to know the product contains no impurities. McDonald’s quality is the best they could make it.” 

Competitive advantage:

Again, the competitive advantages that Calcimate offers to farmers are two-fold.

“A lot of people just assume that a certain level of death and clinical problems in the herd is unavoidable,” says Sue.“But we have a zero tolerance within our practice for cows with calcium deficiency. We’re all about eliminating clinical disease. Essentially, McDonald’s (now Graymont) supplies a product that improves cow health and efficiency at a very cost effective price." The impact on herd productivity can be significant. “Our farmers as a group are high performers, with consistently high performing herds even in adverse conditions such as the recent drought.”

Market knowledge & great relationships:

According to Sue: “McDonald’s (now Graymont) has developed this market, so they understand it better than their competitors. They had the foresight to see the potential and the need for the product, and they have a willingness to get alongside people to work out solutions.” Graymont has collaborated with Dairy Production Systems for sponsorship support. “They’ve helped sponsor our endeavours like our newsletter and conferences.” The personal service from Graymont is also appreciated: “There is always someone to speak to personally on the phone when you ring".

Calcimate and Jerseys

Case Study: Calcium Supplement

Product Sector: Animal Health-Calving and Supplementary Feed

Location: New Zealand

Products: Calcimate

Source / Interviewee: Ross Riddell

Jersey Breeder

Passionate about breeding Jerseys, cow condition and health are very important to Ross. Jerseys eat more and product more per kg of body weight than Friesians and Ross suspects this may be why Jerseys required more calcium supplementation than other breeds.

"We used to stop drenching with Calcimate at the end of November and found that some cows would still go down due to milk fever after that," says Ross. "So we decided to continue drenching and have not had a problem since. General health improved and we also saw the result in the vat as we no longer had any subclinical cases of milk fever." 

Ross supplements the maize silage he feeds out with Calcimate to counter the low calcium content of this feed. "With my interest in cows and being a breeder, having a healthy herd is a big priority for me and it also makes very good economic sense. Using Calcimate is an easy way to help me ensure my cows stay in great order."