"The calves are better conditioned and larger"


With over 2,500 acres, Parahiwi is one of the largest single farms in the Matamata-Piako area. It has been owned by the Vercoe family since 1986 and today the farm runs a mix of sheep, beef and a 550 milking herd.

For years, Hugh Vercoe and daughter Julie Wright relied on picking up all the available colostrum and reject milk from neighbouring farms to feed their 250 or so replacements and beefies. While it was financially beneficial, driving around to different farms was time consuming.

Then in 2017 with the threat of M. bovis, they decided they needed to control what was coming onto the farm and changed to Ancalf Calf Milk Replacer.

Julie, who was a previous vet nurse and takes care of all the calf rearing, noticed a big difference in her calves’ health straight away.

She had a lot of issues with scours before and the pens used to stink, but as soon as she changed over to Ancalf, the scours problems disappeared. Along with the smell.

“The pens are clean, the calves are better conditioned and larger – so we’re never going back to reject milk. It’s just not worth it.” Says Julie.

As the calves come in, she meticulously writes down their details and tag numbers so she can track their progress. She’s equally careful in the Ancalf milk preparation, mixing the CMR in small batches to ensure consistency and using the ever popular paint stirrer on a drill. She then feeds the calves using a 50 teat calfeteria. Depending on calf numbers, they use 4 bags of Ancalf a day and purchased 350 bags in April to lock in the price.

While Ancalf may seem more expensive than reject milk at first glance – the health benefits, the time-saving and the ease of the whole operation really pays off as Hugh explains:

“We have now made the decision to continue with Ancalf for our future rearing. We are more interested in the weaned results than a few dollars.”

For Julie, rearing calves single-handed is challenging enough, but she also has all the sheep and beef cattle to look after, plus her own horse trekking business, Tauhei Horse Trekking, which she operates on the weekends. But with Ancalf now making her job just that little bit easier she’s looking forward to the season ahead.

Feeding Calves

  • Mix milk powder prior to feeding, not the day before as settling can occur and milk can go off from bacterial growth creating a source of infection.
  • Store opened bags of milk powder in a dry, cool, rodent free environment to avoid contamination or spoiling.
  • Mix powder thoroughly in warm water. Add milk powder to half the final volume, mix well and then top up to the required volume with warm or cold water as required.
  • Use a thermometer if you are unsure of correct temperatures.
  • Always use clean fresh water.
  • Rinse and clean all equipment thoroughly after every feeding and disinfect equipment regularly. Ensure teats do not become blocked.
  • Increase feeding levels in stages making changes every third day to prevent nutritional scours.
  • Warm milk, as opposed to cold milk is desirable as energy will not be consumed heating cold milk up to blood temperature for easy digestion.
  • Do not overfeed, under or over concentrate milk powder. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines.
  • Be observant at feeding. Teats may block, bullying may occur in compartment feeding, watch for slow feeders.
  • Ideally, use a compartment feeder for the first 3 weeks, especially when feeding concentrated milk, as in the once a day system.
  • Ensure a consistent feeding time, preferably with the same person feeding the calves.
  • Ensure that clean ad lib water is always available, especially when feeding concentrated milk as in a "once a day" feeding system.

Calf Milk Replacer Feeding Instructions

Twice a day feeding

Suggested feeding rate and volume - mixing rate150 grams/litre

Age Volume per feed* (150g/litre water) Grams per feed Grams per day
0-4 days Colostrum fed ad-lib
5-10 days 2.0 litres 300 grams 600 grams
11-21 days 2.5 litres 375 grams 750 grams
22 days to weaning 3.0 litres 450 grams 900 grams

* Add CMR to 1/2 the 'volume per feed' and mix thoroughly. Top up with water to correct volume and temperature

  • Calves are usually fed in the morning and again in the evening, or ad-lib.
  • As a guide, 8 hours should elapse between feeds.
  • Mixing concentration is constant throughout the rearing.

Once a day feeding

Age Volume per feed* (150g/litre water) Grams per feed Grams per day
0-4 days Colostrum fed ad-lib
5-10 days 1.0 litres twice a day 300 grams 600 grams
11-21 days 2.0 litres once a day 600 grams 600 grams
22 days to weaning 2.5 litres once a day 700 grams 700 grams

* Add CMR to 1/2 the 'volume per feed' and mix thoroughly. Top up with water to correct volume and temperature

  • Once a day feeding systems work by restricting the feeding volume and increasing the concentration of the milk. This encourages the earlier consumption of concentrates, whilst the full nutritional requirements are met.
  • Because low volumes are fed it is critical to use a compartmentalised feeder to ensure an even accurate intake.
  • Calves can be weaned off milk at a minimum of 65kg and / or when consuming 1kg of concentrate. Continue to feed concentrates at the rate of 1.5 - 2.0 kg/day for the next month or until 100kg liveweight.
  • Later weaning will contribute to a greater increase in growth rates.


Buy ANCALF today from your local rural retailer:

  • Typical analysis

    Protein 26%
    Fat 20%
    Lactose 43.5%
    moisture 3.5%
    Minerals 7%

Calves grow up strong and healthy on Ancalf milk replacer. It can be more consistent than vat milk. Ancalf is a precise blend of casein dairy protein with all the nutrients and the high milk fat calves need to build strength and maintain optimum growth. Guaranteed to curd, Ancalf contains Actigen, which is prebiotic to assist digestion, and Coccistop to prevent coccidiosis. With every batch tested to ensure quality, you won’t find a better way to give your calves the very best start.

Ancalf™. The word on the farm

  • Read why Julie Wright says her calves are better and larger.
    Read article

  • South Canterbury contract milker James Emmett tells how his calves are flourishing on Ancalf.

  • Geraldine farmer Andrew Grant reveals how Ancalf helps make rearing a large number of calves easier.

Frequently asked questions

  • Is Ancalf made in New Zealand?

    Yes, Ancalf is manufactured at sites in both the North and South Islands, and is made from casein protein rich dairy ingredients such as whole milk powder.

  • What are the benefits of whole milk powder?

    Whole milk powder is the closest form of milk powder to cow’s milk. It consists of high quality dairy fat and casein protein, which are the natural drivers of growth in new born calves. Dairy fat is key to help keep calves warm and provide energy, and casein protein curds in the calf’s stomach, breaking down over time for optimum growth.

  • How does Ancalf differ from other CMRs?

    Ancalf has been a trusted brand in New Zealand since 1966. Over that time it has proven its consistency and effectiveness by remaining faithful to using high quanities of casein dairy ingredients, essential vitamins and minerals, and a rigorous testing regime before being released to market. This way, customers know they will get the same high performing product, bag after bag, pallet after pallet.

  • Is Ancalf guaranteed to curd?

    Yes, NZAgbiz tests every batch for curdability, and if a batch does not reach the threshold for a strong curd, it does not pass as fit for market.

  • Is Coccistop safe for horses / dogs?

    Coccistop’s active ingredient decoquinate is a preventive level coccidiostat that is safe for horses and dogs.

  • What does Actigen do?

    Actigen is a specialised prebiotic developed by Alltech Inc. It is a carbohydrate fraction extracted from the cell wall of a specific yeast that attracts pathogens away from the gut wall to help prevent infection, and aids in building immunity. Actigen also has anti-inflammatory properties. Reducing inflammation allows for better growth rates.

  • How many bags of Ancalf does a calf typically need?

    If feeding from day four, a calf will typically need 1.5 bags of CMR, depending on your system.

  • How it is best to mix Ancalf?

    There are many ways to mix Ancalf and it depends on your system and equipment. As a general guide, it is easiest to add your total amount of Ancalf to a small volume of warm water and mix thoroughly, before topping up with warm water to reach the total volume of milk required.

  • Why should Ancalf be mixed in warm water?

    NZAgbiz recommend mixing with warm water as it helps with solubility and, more importantly, enable the calf to digest the milk and make the best use of it. If the water is cold, the calf needs to use its own valuable energy to warm the milk, and the stomach struggles to make it curd. Also, there is a risk the milk can enter the rumen which can cause health issues.

  • How many litres of milk does 1 x 20kg of Ancalf make?

    If mixing at the recommended twice per day feeding rate of 150g per litre, a bag of Ancalf will make 133 litres.

  • How do I fortify Ancalf with my colostrum?

    With Ancalf being so close to cow’s milk, Ancalf can be mixed at any ratio with colostrum. Just mix Ancalf as per the mixing instructions and add to your colostrum. Ensure the mixture is constantly moving to keep it fresh. Mixing the Ancalf warm before adding it is a good way to heat up the colostrum before feeding.

  • When should calves be weaned?

    There is no exact measure for when to wean as breeds and farms are different, but there are some guides you can follow. When calves are consuming at least 1kg of meal, and have at least a 1kg weight gain increase per day, this is a good time to start weaning. Most breeds should weigh at least 90kg, and be at least eight weeks old, ten preferable.

  • Can Ancalf be stored outside?

    If possible store Ancalf in a shed – but if space is limited it can be kept outside. Ancalf bags have a durable plastic internal liner that keeps the powder dry in environments where rain or humidity can affect it. It is advisable to store it under a tarp, and have some form of rodent protection.

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