Farming has always been in the family for Robert Hathaway and so has Fiber Fresh.
For over 30 years, the 180-hectare Reporoa farm has thrived, raising approximately 180 calves a season on Fiber Fresh.
“My Grandparents fed Fiber Fresh back when it was the Great Hage Company, my Grandfather fed his horses on it and my parents fed it to their cows.
“I feed Fiber Fresh because I get good results from it. When the heifers get to the herd they perform better. I’ve tried other stuff over the years, but I’ve always gone back to Fiber Fresh because I wasn’t happy with the results.
“I’ve found that my herd peak faster and they maintain that peak longer during the season when they’ve been reared on Fiber Fresh. My cows peaked at 2.6 milk solids this year which we were really happy with.”
And it’s not just milk production that Hathaway has seen success in.
“We’ve found that we have better mating rates with our Fiber Fresh cows than other herds in the area and we’ve put this down to having better rumen development, which then means they can then convert their food into energy achieving target live weights, giving us higher mating rates.”
Ensuring that he uses good rearing practices from the start has led to Hathaway building a better foundation for the herd and played a huge contribution to these successes.
Last season Hathaway’s farm took part in the Fiber Fresh trial for the new FiberGain formulation. As part of this trial Hathaway altered his feeding practices to include the new FiberGain product from day one and was amazed at how well the calves took to the feed right from the start.
“The new improved formulation for FiberGain is the best product I’ve fed, it’s extremely palatable and the calves do really well on it.
“Our calves get milk for quite a while because we have it on hand. We slowly introduce the FiberGain to the trough in the beginning because it’s a fresh product. We start to wean them off it when they reach about 80kgs but they have to be eating a couple of kilos of FiberGain a day before we’ll do that.”
“I think some farmers struggle with the fact that they have to spend more time feeding Fiber Fresh. With the pellets they can just put it in the trough and walk away and they will stay the same for a few days, but they’re not a fresh feed so it’s just like a McDonalds burger, they’ll last forever but they’re not good for you. With the Fiber Fresh they have to start with a handful and build it up which is more time consuming.
“For us though the benefits are worth the extra time. Feeding Fiber Fresh gives us an easy transition onto grass and the calves go onto pasture knowing what to do. They can digest the grass properly and they don’t go backwards.”
Even during the tough pay-out Hathaway didn’t compromise on feed quality.
“When the pay-out was down I still brought Fiber Fresh, I did look at other options at that stage, but everything was the same price unless you dropped the quality. You can’t skimp on everything or you’re not going to make anything and the next season you’ll be even more behind.
“Because of that I think I did better than other farmers at the time, they’ve caught back up now but that year we made a profit and I still had to pay tax!”
This commitment to Fiber Fresh has paid off for Robert by optimizing the growth and production of his future herd.