Our FAQs

Dairy Farmers
What do I do if I am interested in supplying calves into the programme?

Simply fill out the form on the home page of this website and one of the team will be in touch with you shortly.

Is this only for dairy producers that supply milk into Sainsbury’s?

No, this opportunity isn’t limited to only Sainsbury’s Dairy Development Group producers.

What are the asks of a dairy farmer?

There are only a few; Red Tractor Farm Assured, predominantly Holstein Friesian bred and preferably milk recording. Willing to use Dedicated Aberdeen Angus sires available through this programme, and preferably all year-round calving to help ensure a steady supply of calves into dedicated rearing units, but seasonal calving herds can also take part.

What are Dedicated Aberdeen Angus sires?

These are proven Aberdeen Angus sires exclusively available to dairy producers supplying into the Gamechanger supply chain. Genus ABS are our genetic partner for the programme, and in collaboration with ABP, have developed a tool that can take into consideration an animals whole life performance to identify the very best Angus sires for meeting all stakeholder needs in the supply chains. 

How are calves priced, and how and when do dairy producers get paid?

Dairy producers receive a fixed forward price, known at the time of insemination, based on market averages over time. Payment is received promptly via BACS within 14 days of supplying calves.

Is there a specification my calves would have to meet?

Yes. The specification is important for creating groups of animals that are consistent for size and age, so they can be managed appropriately. It’s a weight for age specification, with a minimum weight and age of 45kg at 10 days of age, 50kg at 30 days of age, and a maximum age of 35 days. When presented, all calves should have the sire’s ear tag recorded on their passport and in their milk records, have two matching ear tags, and be free from infection or disease.

How will calves be checked to see if they meet specification?

All calves will be weighed at the point of collection. This is to ensure a fully documented trail of where calves do or don’t meet the specification.

Can I visit a rearing or finishing unit?

Yes, we would welcome you to visit one of our existing rearers or finishers.

Rearing
Do I buy the calves?

No, you are paid a set management fee per calf and also have the opportunity to achieve a KPI bonus for each calf that leaves your unit.

Am I given on-farm support?

Yes, there is a dedicated calf rearing team who will support you alongside a 24/7 vet team.

How many animals would I receive in a batch?

This all depends on the size of your shed and individual circumstances. The maximum batch size is 120 calves.

How long do the calves stay at the rearing unit?

Calves are expected to be at a rearing unit for a minimum of 12 weeks. This is broken down into a six week period on milk and a six week period on a weaned ration.

Do I need to record any data?

Yes we do require you to record some data, and we support you with this through our office team. We also provide each rearer with an on-farm software package – we’ll set it up for you and provide ongoing support.

Is there finance available on milk machines?

There are grants available depending on time of year, and we can provide contacts for finance providers.

When do I receive payment for the calves I rear?

You will be paid within 14 days of the calves leaving your unit.

Can I visit a rearing unit?

Yes we would welcome you to visit one of our existing rearers, where you can see a rearing set up and the quality of the calves.

Finishing
What is the process for ordering calves?

If you wish to order a batch of calves please contact the Blade office on 01458 259 413 and they will arrange for the business development manager for your area to get in contact with you to complete a calf order form. A calf order confirmation form must be placed by the finisher at least three months in advance of the required delivery date to the finishing farm. Farmers will be notified of the number of calves in the batch and delivery date two weeks before the delivery.

What weight are the calves when they arrive?

Calves will arrive on the finishing farm at a minimum of 100kg. All calves delivered to finishing units will be within specification fit and healthy.

What is the health/vaccination status of the calves?

We operate high health status calf units through a network of dedicated calf rearers that are all committed to improving the health of the animals in their care. All calves are BVD tested, EID tagged, and vaccinated for respiratory disease whilst on the rearing unit. The calves leave the rearing units with a full health history, so that you know the history of the animal and are able to follow the health plan into the finishing phase.

Do you provide any farm software packages?

All Gamechanger finishers farms benefit from free access to AgriWebb software, and ongoing support. This can be also used by Gamechanger finisher to manage the rest of their business.

Do I have to weigh the cattle?

Upon delivery of each batch of calves, an estimated window for slaughter will be confirmed. Animals should be weighed upon arrival and at regular intervals, inputting this data into AgriWebb will allow you and us to help track cattle performance enable an accurate slaughter forecast for the animals.  

How often are the payment schedules reviewed?

The payment schedules for finished cattle are reviewed quarterly.

What is the percentage rate of interest?

There are different finance options available to you depending on the finance provider you feel is best suited to your business. You can opt for a fixed or variable interest rate.

What happens if the animal goes over 24 months?

The Blade office will remind you when your animal reaches 19 months. If you are concerned your animals won’t reach the target kill age please contact your business development manager for support. You will be reminded again at 23 months. If you send animals in that are over 24 months you will be paid the management fee for that animal on the specification it reaches. Interest rates are charged when animals go over 20.5 months of age.

Are there any limitations on the cattle feed?

Cattle should be fed a predominantly grass or forage-based diet and turned out to graze whenever the weather conditions and farming system allow. You should follow a feed plan that can achieve the growth rates required to meet the finishing specification. Grass management is vital for liveweight gain optimisation, and can be a useful on farm tool to decrease costs of production by enabling reduced feed requirements through increased grass utilisation within the diet.

Can I visit another finisher on the scheme?

Yes, we are more than happy to arrange a visit to one of our existing finishers. Please get in touch to arrange this.

Are there farmer groups that I can be involved in?

Yes, we have visits throughout the year to allow finishers on the programme to get together. We also have discussion groups on grassland management, biodiversity and project groups – you are welcome to become as involved as you would like.

Will I get on-farm support?

Yes, we have a dedicated on-farm support team. You will have a business development manager assigned to you and they will support you in any way they can.