Sales manager Remmelt Jan on the road

Remmelt Jan Arends, sales manager at Nutrifeed, can regularly be found on the road offering support in respect of Kalvolac and the young cattle rearing process, to our current distributors. In the report below he shares with us his experiences and findings accumulated during a trip to the Middle East.

Leading brand
In the Netherlands, Kalvolac is a leading brand with a high awareness level, and that reputation does not end at our national border! A large proportion of calf milk powders is exported. The quality of our Dutch milk powders has an excellent global reputation. The main reason for this renown is our high quality standards.

Trading means travelling
Wherever there is trade there must be travel. Kalvolac from Nutrifeed is well represented in all corners of the globe. I have spent the past few weeks travelling in the Middle East, speaking to customers from Jordan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Big differences in farming conditions
We Dutch people are of course extremely proud of our dairy industry, but that pride can also be our downfall. As you can imagine, it is not possible to create a carbon copy of the Dutch system in the countries of the Middle East. There are after all huge differences in temperature (>45 °C), humidity, construction methods for cattle accommodation, farm size and the supply of roughage and straw.

Also advising in optimal conditions for calf rearing
The greatest challenge is heat stress, not only for the cows, but also for calves. This is particularly true in conditions of high humidity. For example in the UAE. As far as possible, fans and atomisers are used to keep the temperatures bearable. For the calves, it is a real challenge to dissipate heat in these conditions. As well as advising on the best use of our Kalvolac products, I also talk about how to create the optimum conditions for the calves, and how to adjust the feeding pattern to the calves’ environment.

As you will undoubtedly understand, calves drink more water – and it is therefore necessary to supply the calves with water immediately following the first colostrum. Energy consumption among calves is also much higher, because their bodies have to work hard throughout the day to regulate their body temperature. To cope with the warm climate in these countries, I often recommend calf milk with a higher fat percentage, to ensure sufficient energy for the calf, for its daily growth.

You may well wonder why they keep cattle in these countries, at all. It is all to do with the fact that countries want to be ‘self-sufficient’ in terms of dairy consumption. There is excellent progress; most farms achieve high production levels (>10,000 litres per cow) and these large farms (>500 cattle) are often managed by veterinarians and/or foreign farm managers with a proven track record. Farms like these often work with personnel and protocols that make it clear exactly what should be done, when.

Self-sufficiency in terms of roughage and straw is not achievable. Almost all the roughage and straw used is purchased abroad. Huge ships travel from America, Brazil, Eastern Europe and Russia to deliver the necessary cattle feed. Guaranteeing arrival times and quality are major challenges.

Products fully adjusted to circumstances
My experience in this region of the world has taught me that the real challenge lies in maintaining good milk take-up in the warm local climate. That makes the flavour and energy level of the milk powder all the more important. To ensure resilient calves, Kalvolac has developed a special product with a higher fat percentage combined with the IMAGRO health concept, which includes an emulsifier to promote fat digestion and take-up. These developments are highly appreciated by the calves and therefore also by the farm managers. Thanks to products like these, and others, it is possible for dairy farms in the Middle East to achieve similar results to those achieved in Western European dairy farms.

The best start for a better future