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The EasyWean® story

Brian Marshall

Brian Marshall

In 1999 NSW grazier Brian Marshall introduced a plastic nosering for weaning calves in Australia and gave it the name EasyWean®. His motivation was the obvious benefit of reduced cost from loss of production due to stress and easier management of grazing planning with larger and fewer herds.

Brian is a practical cattleman and works around Australia as a Holistic Management™ educator focusing on a process that allows graziers to make better decisions for their unique mix of people, land and desired profitability.

For most cattle producers the motivation to use EasyWean® Noserings is to:

  • reduce the stress of separation of cow and calf, and loss of milk intake for the calf
  • reduce the cost and labour commitment of feeding in yard weaning

By using EasyWean® you are eliminating the separation factor and as milk loss only has about a 10% effect on weaning weight at 7 months of age, the use of EasyWean® has a significant impact on reducing stress at weaning. If the calf is later separated from the cow, stress will occur but it is greatly reduced in duration and extent.

Results of trials

In 2008 the Department of Regional Development, Primary Industry, Fisheries and Resources (DRDPIFR) in Alice Springs undertook a trial on three of its Northern Territory properties to test the use of EasyWean® noserings compared to traditional yard weaning. The trial concluded weaning cattle using noserings will cost graziers almost half that of yard weaned stock. Click here for more details about the trial.

In 1998 a trial was conducted on an extensive beef operation near Kimberley, South Africa weaning 1500 calves. Noserings were fitted to calves, which were then allowed to stay with their mothers. Results showed that calves and cows continued to grow during the weaning process. More specifically, heifer calves that were weaned with noserings, and then left to run with their mothers until the bulls were put into the herd, weighed 30kgs more than their conventionally weaned counterparts. This could mean the difference between joining or not joining heifers on time.

With steers, this extra gain can be translated into finishing earlier and weighing more. Cows gaining condition through the weaning period means having cows in better condition at calving and then higher conception rates. A commercial grazing family in northern NSW compared yard weaning with the EasyWean® technique and experienced a weight gain of .7kg/day during the weaning period with the nosering. They now routinely wean with EasyWean®.

In 2000 a trial was conducted by a major South African feedlot to determine, amongst other things, the impact that weaning with noserings would have if fitted for two weeks prior to weaners being trucked to the feedlot. The results from these trials are also significant. Lower loss in weight, faster stabilization and improved weight gain during feeding period, lower incidence of sickness and treatment cost.

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