Calf fattening at the highest level for Austrian premium quality veal (Kalb) rosé - farm report from the Bermanschläger family in the district of Ried im Innkreis
The Bermanschläger family's traditional bull fattening farm kept 100 beef cattle in conventional bull fattening stalls until 2020. The farm is run as a sideline. Following intensive advice from the O.Ö. Rinderbörse, the Bermanschläger family decided to switch to the production of veal rosé. The old bull fattening pens now offer space for 100 fattening calves in the final fattening phase and a new, climate-optimized calf barn for 100 fattening calves was built. Schauer Agrotronic was able to support the family with its experience and planning expertise.
Kalb rosé - the Austrian and more animal-friendly answer to veal production!
In recent years, cheap imports of "white" veal have displaced domestic production. In order to have particularly "white" meat, the calves - contrary to their physiology - are not allowed to be fed raw fiber feed, but only milk replacer. Domestic dairy breed calves are also allowed to be fed maize silage, straw and concentrates in their ration. This means that the veal no longer remains white, but does acquire the characteristic rosé color.
The first phase of rearing is similar to forage production, in which high-quality milk replacer for the light calves (from 60 to 90 kg) and high-quality calf starter are usually provided as dry TMR. The meat is also particularly tender, but also very flavoursome. The carcass weight is approx. 300 kg live weight (target 160 - 170 kg carcass weight). The automatic calf feeder is only necessary for feeding during the integration phase in the first week. Later, a switch is made to the dry ration, which is prepared and dosed out once a day for each group.
The calf barn was built to the highest climatic standards in order to offer calves from different farms of origin an optimal, healthy start. The new young calf barn consists of 4 separate pens for 25 calves each, divided into 2 compartments. The pens are fitted with slatted flooring with Kraiburg Kura S rubber mats and offer optimum lying comfort for the animals. The cattle exchange collects and delivers calves from all over Austria 3 times a year. The calves are at least 3 to 5 weeks old and weigh approx. 60 to 90 kg when they are stabled. The different origins of the calves are not ideal in terms of hygiene, but unavoidable, which is why it is all the more important that the calves have a draught-free and dry stable climate.
To ensure this, the supply air is routed via a pore ceiling and the exhaust air is extracted underfloor (in summer combined underfloor/overfloor) via an exhaust air duct. CO2 sensors, humidity and temperature sensors are installed in the barn to ensure that the correct and necessary amount of fresh air is always available. The Argos ventilation control computer processes the sensor data from the barn air in combination with the calves' growth curves and the associated air requirements. All ventilation data can be called up or adjusted at any time via an internet interface using a smartphone. Reinhard Bermanschläger has had the new calf barn in operation for more than two years now, but can remember the difficulties in the initial phase of rearing calves for bull fattening.
"In the old bull barn, draughts were practically unavoidable. As a result, we always had to deal with illnesses and increased veterinary costs. I no longer experience that in the new calf barn," says Reinhard Bermanschläger happily. "This also means that the daily weight gains are at a different level!".