A FEW WORDS ABOUT US
CalfSMART was established 2014
Founder, Ben Neal, an electrical engineer who grew up on a dairy farm, knew he could build an automatic calf feeding system that would surpass anything on the market. With the help of a team of passionate agri-tech leaders CalfSMART was formed. It is now producing a leading range of automatic calf milk feeding systems and a range of meal feeders for calves, heifers, dairy and beef herds. CalfSMART’s products enable farmers to monitor, control and feed the optimal diet to ensure long term productivity.
Tom Gwilliam, Dairy Farmer, Manawatu
We installed a CalfSMART automatic feeding system in Spring 2016. CalfSMART has revolutionised the way we run our operation over the calving period. Before investing in CalfSMART, looking after the calves was a laborious process. With CalfSMART we have been able to spend less time in the calf shed without compromising the animals’ health. The bull calves we sold have fetched premiums in the area. Our heifers reached weaning weight much faster than if they had been manually fed. The best thing about CalfSMART for us is being able to track individual animal’s wellbeing and health, which has enabled us to quickly identify animals that are struggling and alter their diet to rectify. We are looking forward to seeing the difference in production versus previous years when these cows reach maturity.
Richard McIntyre, Dairy Farmer, Foxton
Automation allows operators to treat cows as individuals for milk production. For example robotic milkers, in shed feeding systems and the utilising of programs like Protrack and Minda.
CalfSMART is the first of its kind to allow this for calves – feed as individuals and monitor weight compared to New Zealands commonly used, labour intensive, conventional group calf rearing practise.
I have owned and operated a CalfSMART system for 6 seasons and with automation it allows me control over each individual calf rather than allocating intakes based on an average, even within a group situation. This allows reduced time to weaning, full control of all inputs, the ability to monitor animals continuously and save on downstream management.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What is the lead time on both CalfSMART and SuperSMART ?
- SuperSMART currently 4 week lead time
- CalfSMART 6 months, due to current demand
- What do I have to do to prepare for the SuperSMART Meal Feeder and the CalfSMART automated Milk Feeder?
- SuperSMART Meal Feeder arrives on farm ready to go. All you need to do is make sure your towing vehicle is in good working order and fit for purpose.
- CalfSMART Milk Feeder requires some liaison with the team at CalfSMART as every site and customer requirement is different. For example; Are you adapting existing shed or facilities? Is suitable power, water supply and drainage on site? Does your current shed, calf pen design and layout suit calves, operators and a CalfSMART System.
- Do I need a new shed?
- Not necessary if current shed can be adapted to suit calves, operators and CalfSMART System.
- How do I go about transferring calf ID’s and EID tag numbers into the system?
- A CalfSMART team member can assist by using a .csv file electronically we can load groups of calves or the operator will be instructed on the individual loading of each calf as it enters the feed stall. This is a simple operation but essential for ongoing feed allocation and calf identification and monitoring.
- How long will it take for my calves to get used to the CalfSMART?
- This varies again with individual calves from 1st visit to 10 days but CalfSMART strongly suggests ensuring that each calf is trained onto a teat feeder first before guiding (not pushing) them into the CalfSMART feed stall and getting them suckling on the teat.
- If calf identification (EID) has been loaded then the system will identify each calf and supply milk to the calf with a few seconds.
- If I have a problem, what happens?
- CalfSMART will provide operator/users with training and ensure understanding of the complete system. We offer a user manual, plus online help.
- CalfSMART constantly monitors all sites and can assist operators at each location with quick fixes and or questions, or have a service technician go to site or computer technician remedy issues via internet connection. (CalfSMART technicians acknowledge any breakdowns are a major inconvenience to the operator so will endeavour to arrive and fix with URGENCY)
- Some consumables and instructions on fitting/installation will be provided on commissioning of each CalfSMART system.
- Can you feed concentrated CMR’s to calves?
- Yes. Mixing rates of CMR are controlled through the recipes section of the CalfSMART System and you can set whatever rates suit your chosen feed regime.
- CalfSMART will encourage operators to follow CMR Manufacturers guidelines as printed on product bags or specification sheets.
- What is the temperature of the milk that is fed to calves?
- CalfSMART allows the operator to set milk feed temperatures through the recipes section of our programme. Milk is heated at each stall through our heating coil and delivered direct to calf.
- There is no requirement to provide hot water for mixing or feed delivery.
- What do I have to do to clean the system each day?
- After each feed allocation has been completed by the calf a cold water rinse is put through the feed stall, effectively cleaning the bowl prior to the next calf accessing its ration.
- CalfSMART has an automatic function for cleaning all internal bowls, pumps and pipes/tubing. With a CalfSMART system we will instruct the new user to introduce suitable acids and alkilais for the automatic clean and also how to use the clean function on the system, including scheduling a day and time.
- Calves are locked out from feeding during the cleaning process to ensure NO contact whist chemicals are in the system.
- How can I access the information?
- A CalfSMART interface is built into the system utilising internet technology through “the cloud” (via SIM card/mobile phone) and access is made by use of the Central Controller, Smart Phone or Home PC.
- Will I be notified if there is no feed left?
- Weigh scales are included with the CMR Hopper to indicate powder levels and weigh scales are also on the mixing tank & cycling tank. Alerts will be sent if any of these are below required levels.
- Identification of milk levels in a Calf Milk Vat can be determined with a LEVNO monitoring device automatically, otherwise a visual check is required by the user unless weighing scales are fitted to the vat.
- Can I use a mixture of wholemilk and CMR?
- YES. CalfSMART allows the operator to fortify wholemilk with CMR in the recipes section. (please ensure a wholemilk CMR is used as Whey based will not curd)
- This function is automated so no manual actions are required by the operator other than to ensure the CMR hopper filled and Wholemilk vat has adequate quantity.
- How many calves can I feed with a CalfSMART System?
- Each CalfSMART stall can comfortably feed 50 calves.
- How many CalfSMART stalls can be operated by a single Central Controller?
- CalfSMART feed stalls are clip-on units with one central controller for up to 20 stalls, feeding approximately 1000 calves.
- Can additives or medications be delivered thru’ a CalfSMART System?
- Liquid additives or medications can be included safely with a CalfSMART system through the additive pump on each stall and exact amounts controlled through the calf recipe section.
- Common additives used are Hay Tea, Apple Cider Vinegar, and some pre and pro Biotics
- How far away from the Central Controller, the CMR unit or the Whole Milk Pump can the stalls be located?
- There is no necessity for the stalls to be located close together or close to the CalfSMART Central Controller, CMR or Wholemilk system.
- All services can be provided through both electrical conduit and milk and water thru alkathene pipes & with the pumps that CalfSMART specifies for our systems. We have the ability to cycle milk for approx. 400m+. An aerial in each feed stall allows information to be sent to the Central Controller to almost any reasonable location on your farm.
- Can the stalls go outside?
- Yes. Our stalls are manufactured to handle all reasonable conditions and will have no problems with being located outside, whether in the middle of a paddock or in stockyards.
- What are the consumables and approximately how much does it cost to operate a CalfSMART system?
- Feed teats will need to be replaced approximately every three weeks (these are screw in teats readily available from rural merchants) & some pump hoses and tubing may need replacing each season. (These are available from CalfSMART)
- Internet access to the system via a SIM card has a monthly cost of $49.95 (this is provided FREE for the first year from purchase)
- Power, water and all estimated consumables cost in the vicinity of $7 per calf per season.
- Do I need to purchase weighing scales or do CalfSMART scales as an optional extra?
- Weigh scales are built into every CalfSMART feed stall and this is all inclusive in your purchase. Each calf enters the stall & is weighed on every visit. This data is logged with an algorithm to provide a record of each calf’s development through the central controller.