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|What dairy can learn from our veal customers|
|Dairy basics - Calf and Heifer Raising|
|Written by Rebecca Shaw, Center for Dairy Excellence Summer Intern|
|Monday, 18 June 2012 14:16|
In this month’s column, usually written by Executive Director John Frey, the Center for Dairy Excellence invited summer intern Rebecca Shaw to share what she learned during a recent visit to the Marcho Farms facility.
The operation is based in Franconia, Pennsylvania, and processes more than 1,500 veal calves a week. Center staff visited the facility with the intention of learning more about the veal industry and the connection between the veal and dairy industries.
As an intern at the Center for Dairy Excellence, I have the opportunity to engage in the dairy industry at many levels – from visiting local dairy farms to talking with state legislators to engaging in meetings with stakeholders from all facets of the industry.
Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Marcho Farms, a well-known and respected Pennsylvania veal processor. The Marcho family takes pride in their company, and every step of producing veal from the farm to the consumer is carefully monitored.
I joined the center’s executive director John Frey and dairy initiatives manager Emily Yeiser on the visit. When we arrived, we were greeted by Dr. Adnan Aydin, director of nutrition research and quality control, who provided a tour of the facility and spoke to us about the veal industry.
Calves are bought by Marcho Farms at sale barns, typically averaging about 100 pounds. Marcho Veal then sends the calves off to one of their 200 contracted growers, where they are housed in clean, well-ventilated facilities. We were fortunate enough to visit a grower’s facility located 10 minutes from the Marcho Farms headquarters.
Well-known livestock behaviorist Temple Grandin recently visited the grower farm we visited, and she did not find one sign of stress during her hours of watching the calves. Our observations were the same: the calves were calm and content as we walked through their pens.
Marcho Farms manufacturers the milk replacer growers feed to their calves. The formula is made up of dairy products, such as whey, whey protein, lactose, and fat that has been turned into powder by adding carbon dioxide.
Dr. Aydin described the replacer by saying that “every ingredient fed to Marcho veal calves has been through the best filter in the world.”
Dr. Aydin encouraged dairy producers that they “are not just producing milk. They need to be thinking of themselves as meat producers as well.”
With Marcho Farms processing an average of 1,500 20-week old calves in a five-day week, Dr. Aydin listed these top 10 things that he wished dairy producers would consider about the veal and dairy replacement calves they are raising:
With the majority of Marcho Farms’ veal calves coming from dairy facilities, it became obvious to us during the visit that veal production is indeed closely aligned with the dairy industry and that the same standards of quality care provided to dairy replacement calves is critical for a high quality veal product.
Without dairy bull calves, there would be no supply to veal producers or the growing market of veal consumers. With that in mind, dairy producers should consider applying Dr. Aydin’s 10 recommendations. PD
TOP MIDDLE: Marcho Farms manufactures the milk replacer that growers use to feed calves. Photos by Rebecca Shaw, courtesy of Center for Dairy Excellence.