There are lots of elements to rearing calves. Health, feeding, cleanliness and hygiene, weight management, pen maintenance, calf flow from pens to paddocks. While we have one dedicated role each season that is responsible for this to create good consistency, accountability and results (with a second fill in for the 2 days off), many farmers will be using a number of people to fill this role. Which ever approach you use it’s important to be clear about what your process is for calf rearing. What are the health requirements, what is expected for hygiene, how do you feed, when do you shift calves.
Requires Simplification and visualisation
A couple of season’s ago we started putting this one pager together to try and capture all the key elements to a good calf rearing process in a simple visual format (not loads of written instructions which you can’t decipher!). We did it in a timeline format as we felt it was the best way to capture the dynamic nature of calf rearing and the critical points at each phase in their development.
Don’t try to be perfect immediately – instead strive for perfection – that’s the lean way
It is absolutely not comprehensive or perfect – it is very much work in progress and each season we add to it or make improvements. We don’t ever wait until a standard is perfect before we start using it – it is better to have a starting point/ something documented and then be able to evolve it as you use it. That is the beauty of continuous improvement. My motto is something is better than nothing (in most circumstances not always!!)
Simple, visual – it works
This one pager is a really easy way to:
a)ensure you are doing all the right things
b)communicate to everyone in our team what our process is.
Continuous improvement keeps going
I will add to the www.leanfarm.nz shop if you want a copy of the template to use for yourself. And if you see some good ideas on how to improve our process please share!! We aren’t the experts in this and I am sure we can learn from others who do it better than us.