When entering an animal enterprise (non-dairy) you will be asked to provide a mean weaning date. Farmers should be able to provide this information - as the date which youngstock transitioned from being fed milk, to a pasture or pasture + supplement diet. Outside of dairy systems, this is often the date at which animals are taken "off mum".
In dairy enterprises, information about calves on the farm should be entered under "Dairy Replacements". Animals should be recorded as calves for the time between their birth and their weaning from milk. Once weaned they should be entered as replacements. (Replacement rate determines the percentage of breeding animals replaced/culled each year. It is used to make adjustments to weight gain and product allocation for GHG.)
Weaning is the process of reducing a calf’s milk intake and moving it to a forage diet and possibly concentrates. Once weaned, calves are no longer fed milk but may be fed concentrates.
Weaning date, is the date they stop receiving any milk as part of their diet, which should be assessed by measuring the amount of concentrate or pasture they are readily eating, which should be at least 1 kg/day of meal or 2 kg/day of pasture.
Useful resources about the dairy weaning process can be found on the DairyNZ and Teagasc websites: