On-farm feeding programs underfeed calves by a large margin, and it’s easy to see why morbidity and mortality rates can dramatically increase. Calf Distinction encourages producers to reap the health benefits that come with feeding a higher plane of nutrition.
The advantage of early feeding on gut health, while benefiting feed efficiency may have a greater benefit in reducing morbidity and mortality and thereby improving farm profitability.
- The immune system needs energy — provided by the calf’s fat stores — to respond to a disease challenge.
- “When it comes to fighting an infection, the immune system is more important for winning the battle than the medication. Calves in a negative energy balance, or with minimal fat stores, cannot adequately fuel the immune system,” says Dr Jim Reynolds. Contrary to what some producers believe, these skinny calves are not normal. These skinny calves mean more sick calves and more dead calves. Calves must be growing for vaccines or antibiotics to work.
- Dairy calves suffering from malnutrition are more susceptible to diarrhea, pneumonia and other infectious diseases.
What’s in it for You!
Despite no difference in calving age, subsequent milk production was improved 2500 lb or 1100 kg in calves which were provided a greater plane of nutrition during the milk feeding period.
Summary of other research
Calves fed 16-18 lb (8 liters) vs. 8 lb (4 liters)/day.
- Denmark 1994 + 3090 lb
- Denmark 1997 + 1144 lb
- New York 2005 + 1543 lb
- Michigan 2006 + 1100 lb
- Minnesota 2009 + 2200 lb
- Mean Response + 1680 lb