Parininihi ki Waitotara (PKW) will raise 300 calves this season in a pilot calf-rearing unit near Pihama.
The new unit on the Maori incorporation's 83-hectare Skeet Rd farm managed by Robert Walden, will be managed by Kathryn Wapp, the farm's dairy assistant last season.
Calves from the incorporation's four managed dairy farms will be raised this season in the 360-square- metre purpose-built shed. Its 14 pens can each hold 15 calves.
"We're raising calves ourselves rather than relying on the market when we need to buy cows," said PKW's general manager of land assets, Ranald Gordon.
"We'd rather raise our own stock so that we can build up our numbers of high-quality animals."
Mr Gordon said a larger calf unit would be also built. The two units would mean PKW could make better use of its own livestock resource and mitigate the cost of cow purchases during expansion.
Sealed panels between each pen eliminate the threat of cross- contamination of the calves. The shed features a central walkway covered in sawdust, and each pen has a bed of post peelings.
The calves will spend about eight weeks in the shed before being put on pasture.
Once weaned, they'll go to the incorporation's dairy support blocks at Bell Block, Tikorangi and Tirimoana in South Taranaki.
The first calves went into the shed on Monday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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