Calf health is essential to achieve maximum growth rates


Calf health is essential to achieve maximum growth rates

A successful calf rearing program is essential for a profitable farming operation.

A successful calf rearing program ensures a dairy heifer calves for the first time at an age of 22-24 months. This should be the start of a long and profitable productive life. A successful calf rearing program is therefore essential for a profitable dairy farming operation. A LifeStart programme for dairy calves will not only ensure excellent growth, it will also improve calf health status and reduces pre-weaning calf mortality.

Beef operations often bring together calves from different origin. Mixing calves causes stress and suppression of the immune system and each calf harbors different viruses and bacteria. This creates a health challenge for calves in beef operations.

Neonatal scours and lung problems are the most important cause of young calf mortality. But, even if a dairy calf survives an episode of neonatal diarrhoea or respiratory problems, the chances it will meet expectations with regard to future lifetime milk production are slim. If growth during these early stages of life is reduced as a result of calf health issues, this cannot be compensated by speeding up the growth later in life[19].

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Growth rates early in life determine the future production
potential of a dairy cow.