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The Story Behind Kiwi Calf

We began our seasonal stocker cattle operation in 1991. Being new to the cattle raising business, we asked for advice from local cattle farmers, university extension agents and other sources of information available at this pre-world wide web time. An extension agent introduced us to management intensive grazing, or MIG. This system puts emphasis on pasture, i.e. grass management as the primary tool for a successful cattle operation, be it beef or dairy cattle.

We were very quickly convinced that this method of grazing cattle was the way to go. Subsequently, we attended MIG seminars in Missouri organized by the University of Missouri Forage Systems Research Center, http://aes.missouri.edu/fsrc/   Before we purchased our first small herd of stocker cattle, we subdivided the pasture with electric permanent and temporary fences into 2-5 acre paddocks and laid several miles of water lines to bring water to the paddocks. 

To further our knowledge of raising cattle on MIG, we subscribed to the monthly publication "The Stockman Grass Farmer" http://www.stockmangrassfarmer.net/ This publication has been devoted since 1947 "solely to the art and science of making a profit from grassland agriculture". In 1993, the magizine put together a trip to New Zealand to visit some of this country's successful and profitable dairy and beef operations. And that's how in January of 1994, we found ourselves on an intensive 10-day tour of NZ dairy and cattle farms.

Our tour was limited to the North Island of New Zealand, mainly in the lower elevation and flatter areas around Auckland where most of the dairy and beef farms are located. It was absolutely fascinating to visit with Kiwi farmers who had  survived the abolishment of all farm subsidies in 1985. The following articles will shed some light on this unique and couragious step taken by the NZ government back in 1984. http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3411  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/3747430.stm

By the time we visited 9 years later, farming in NZ had recovered and was thriving. We learned a lot about electric fence systems and MIG and we were especially impressed with their dairy calf rearing methods. Nowhere did we see individual calf hutches with lonely little calves confined to a small area prone to standing in their own feces for many hours and without the social interaction with other calves that bovine babies need for a healthy development. Instead, we saw same age calves in large grassy paddocks with a variety of portable calf feeders and always with shelter for protection from inclement weather. We investigated several systems and decided to go with the most simple and inexpensive one.

Shortly after we returned from New Zealand, we imported the first lot of the Wallace Calfeteria nipples and we have not looked back since then. Because this is a product developed and produced in New Zealand, we decided to call it after New Zealand's indigenous flightlessl bird, the  Kiwi. Since 1994, we have sold several thousand nipples and have never received a complaint that this simple and effective system does not work if properly implemented.

Brush Creek Farm
Kiwi Calf Feeding System
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