Holstein calves in hutches muendo/ThinkstockPhotos

3 steps to help ensure calf success

Pay attention to calf nutrition.

Take these steps to help ensure the future success of your calves.

  • Feed more nutrients pre-weaning. This, combined with good management, appears to positively impact immune function, rate of gain and first lactation milk production, time and time again.
    “Young calves have a tremendous capacity to utilize nutrients,” says Michael Ballou, Ph.D., associate dean for research and associate professor in the department of animal and food sciences at Texas Tech University. “The more we maximize nutritional intake pre-weaning, the more productive calves appear to be throughout their lives.
  • Deliver more nutrients pre-weaning. This may translate to better immunity post-weaning. A study by Ballou and his colleagues challenging post-weaned calves with Salmonella typhimurium showed calves fed 2.6 pounds of milk solids per day were more resistant to severe inflammation than calves fed 1 pound of milk solids per day.
    “What we are seeing in the research data and on farms is improved immune function and disease resistance in calves fed more nutrition pre-weaning,” says Ballou. “On top of that, these calves have improved average daily gain and feed efficiency.”
  • Consult your nutritionist about implementing a full potential diet into your feeding program.
    “We recommend feeding a full potential diet of at least 2.5 pounds of milk solids in 8-10 quarts of liquid per calf daily,” says Tom Earleywine, Ph.D., director of nutritional services with Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products. “Feeding this high level of pre-weaning nutrition can help protect your calves’ future and the future of your herd.”

Source: Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products Company

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