What to do with Bobby?

Our tenacious team of journalists love nothing more than to get their teeth into a good challenge. The challenge this issue is around “What to do with a problem like Bobby?”

Although some markets for bobby calves are high value, the processing of several million non-replacement calves each season is seen as huge wastage. And now with perceived animal welfare risks to Kiwi dairy product reputation the time has come to drive bobby calves out of the system.
In the special report our team have uncovered many great moves in the right direction – veal products, ‘Miti’ meat protein bars, new beef breeds, use of more AI and sexed semen to produce higher-value crossbred calves, use of the Dairy Beef Progeny Test to identify the higher-performing beef sires, contract rearing and systems using a mixture of all the above.
Finding higher value homes for the first 80% of non-replacement calves is easy, it’s the last 20% of smaller, later, less wellbred calves that is harder, Mark Leslie from Pamu pointed out.
It’s a big intractable problem, but one where planning, collaboration and a suite of great new products is starting to shift the dial.
Tucking into a beautifully cooked veal ribeye chop at the Odeon restaurant in Christchurch was a great way to research the issue. You can have a go at cooking the same recipe on page 53 and look out for Pearl Veal around the country, starring a top restaurant near you. Read about Alan’s Pearl Veal plans – and think about how you could extract more value from non-replacement calves. It starts with breeding, as geneticists Rebecca Hickson and Bob Thomson point out. (pg64 and pg60).
Down in Ikamatua, we found rising star of Instagram Chloe Payne and her Cowsofnewzealand account. Her 237,000 followers love her cow and calf photos, including the pic of Barbie the Fleckvieh-Friesian calf who almost broke the internet with 2.4 million likes. (Move over the other Khloe, we love Barbie’s eyelashes way better! pg104).
Read about great people doing cool stuff – our mag is full of them!
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