Rexdale, Mangamaire, NZ

Calves at Steph and Ken Norman’s Mangamaire farm have been fed Sharpes calf meal for 18 years. The couple know that attention to detail is the key to raising top calves, and nutrition is a crucial element.

As well as calf rearing, their diverse 760 hectare farming business in the Tararua District includes sheep, bulls and velveting stags.

“Calf rearing is a profitable part of the operation and we can then take our pick for our bull system,” Steph explains.

Since they began rearing calves in 2004 they do anywhere from 600 to 1200 calves annually. Last year they fed 105 tonnes of Sharpes calf meal.

It’s a team effort at Rexdale, Steph and Ken do the calves together each day, and it takes about five hours to feed them all. Calves usually start coming on in late July and, generally, by the end of September all will be weaned.

“We do about 40 days on milk and by the time they’re weaned they are eating 1kg of Sharpes meal a day, each.”

The Normans have used Sharpes from day dot and like the results they see.

“The calves go for it right from day one and we’ve never had any issues. We’ve never had a reason to change. We find they grow well, it’s palatable and Sharpes are just great to deal with.”

They use the mobile app for all ordering, which keeps everything simple. They’ve even become friends with Richard, their Sharpes delivery guy.

“Every part of it is good, they’re easy to deal with, and we do all our ordering through the app. As soon as the truck arrives with the meal, Ken is putting in the order for the next week’s lot.”

And the secret to rearing the happy healthy calves? “Attention to detail,” Steph says. “Making sure every single calf get its allocated milk, being proactive rather than reactive. Every day, every calf is watched.”