Viability and Economics

Let’s face it – there is no perfect way to rear calves. Essentially you choose a system that best fits your resources and requirements. However, whether you are a dairy or beef farmer you’re looking for economic viability and a high-weight, healthy weaned calf.

Factors to consider:
  • Your facilities and financial resources
  • Your experience in animal husbandry and calf rearing
  • The number of calves to be reared
  • Weaning policy
  • Type of calf (heifer replacements – bull beef?)
  • Breed criteria and requirements
  • Capital expenditure overall
  • Labour–cost and availability
  • Pasture availability/quality
  • Prices of a 4 day old calf
  • Price of calf milk replacers/whole milk
  • Feed once a day or twice a day
  • The price of a 100kg weaner
  • The beef schedule

If you are new to calf rearing or have never undertaken large scale rearing, then we recommend you seek as much advice as you can. Better to start small and increase numbers gradually. This site has a lot of information to assist with decisions and we are more than happy to talk to you.

Calves respond well to human voice and touch, and when treated with a little compassion will respond well. The greatest asset you can have is experience. Try a small number for the first season until you are confident in dealing with any problems that may arise. Gradually increase your numbers, don’t jump from 20 one season to 500 the next.

Here’s a cashflow worksheet to assist in planning:

Cashflow / Projection Worksheet

 Cost per kg/litre/unitUnit CostTotal Cost
Capital Outlay
Interest Payable
Colostrum
Liquid Whole Milk
Bedding
Meal
Pasture
Straw
Projected Losses
Health
Labour
Power
R & M
Miscellaneous
Total cost per calf
$/kg L/wt gain
Projected profit per calf

"I supplement my replacement heifer program with Ngahiwi Calf Milk Replacer and Whey Milk Replacer. I have never had any calf health problems and find the milk mixes readily and the calves love it. My heifers reached their target weight much earlier and cheaper than previously"

John Hathaway
Businessman and Dairy Farmer (Reporoa)

"I rear over a thousand calves a year and always use Ngahiwi to supplement a liquid whole milk rearing program. I like the product, service and good value of their powder. All that you need - a premix, prebiotic, probiotic and coccidiastat, is in the powder. No need to buy expensive extras."

Blair Snelling
Calf Rearer and Beef Farmer (Maungatapere)

"I have used Ngahiwi Calf Milk Replacer for 20 seasons rearing thousands of calves in that time. Ngahiwi mixes easily and my young calves thrive. Ngahiwi contains, as standard, prebiotics, probiotics and a coccidiastat. Excellent product!"

Chris Coxhead
Bull Farmer (Waitakaruru)