Calves are given a milk substitute because it costs less than the amount paid to a farmer for a litre of fresh milk. When the milk substitute is given in a shared long trough, the amount of milk that each calf consumes can vary. This is because the largest calves drink significantly faster – and thus consume a larger proportion of the total milk supply – compared to the smallest calves. If one wants to distribute the milk evenly between the calves, individual troughs can be used to give each calf its own portion. This ensures that the calves are given the same amount of milk.
OK Plast, a company based in Horsens, Denmark, has developed a 2-metre long trough which is hung over a pipe and has space for seven individual milk troughs. This ensures that each calf is given its own portion of milk. As a result, the calves grow at similar rates. The product is called “Milkslide” and has been thoroughly tested by Søren Mortensen, a milk producer from I/S Torp Søgård who quickly saw the benefits of this new method of dispensing milk and compound feed. The concept is effective because the calves each have their own milk trough, which is placed in the long trough. When the calves have finished drinking, the milk troughs are removed, making way for the long trough to be used for compound feed. The long feeding trough is thus used both as a structure to hold individual troughs and as a trough for compound feed.
“This new concept saves me from doing an additional task, which is what I particularly like about it,” contends Søren. The calves were previously given milk and compound feed in the same long trough. Søren was often forced to empty the compound feed out of the long trough before he could pour in the milk, simply because the calves had not eaten all of the feed. Now he places the milk troughs on top of the long trough, regardless of whether it contains leftover compound feed. The calves can then eat the rest of the compound feed when they have emptied the milk troughs.
The long trough may hung over the pipe inside or outside. The total weight is 19 kg including 7 single troughs. The capacity of the long trough is 100 litres. Each of the single troughs have a capacity of 7 litres.
We will present the “Milk-Slide” innovation on the Eurotier Exhibition in Hannover, Germany, from 13.-16. November 2012.