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This is the title of a presentation by Professor Geof Smith (North Carolina State University) at a seminar early this year. After announcing there is no ‘magic bullet’ or secret formula to keep young calves health, he continued to say, there are four time proven fundamentals to achieving this goal:
1) Removing the source of infection from the calf’s environment
2) Removing the calf from the contaminated environment
3) Increasing immunity; and
4) Decreasing stress.
Smith stated timely administering of quality colostrum remains #1 priority. He also advises against pooling colostrum, but encourages surplus quality colostrum be frozen for future needs. Further, the three major diseases causing calf death are; diarrhoea, pneumonia and septicaemia (blood poisoning).
In an article earlier this year it was shown diarrhoea is rarely caused by over consumption of milk, but of bacterial contamination. Housing, ventilation and nutrition are the key components for avoiding calf disease.
Eliminate exposure to cow’s manure. It contains many pathogens immature calf immunity has no capacity to respond to. Calving pads must be kept clean.
Overcrowding of pens – Smith recommends 3 square meters/calf
Identifying disease causes: 1st week – unsanitary calving conditions and/or colostrum delivery. Later sickness tends to be connected to unsanitary housing.
Air quality. Our normal three-sided calf sheds do not ventilate well. Additional openings in back walls will improve air quality reducing air-born bacterial threat.
Calves can tolerate cold. Dampness is an obvious haven for bacterial growth and contamination. Bedding should be deep enough that calves can nest enough that their legs are hidden.
Adequate nutrition. Traditional feeding of 4 litres of fresh milk is not sufficient. Rather, test for solids content (refractometer) and add powder as required to achieve 800 gm of solids daily.
Studies of stress-induced disease in calves have revealed a number of pathogens that can lie dormant in the gut, but become active when animals are under stress – environmental, nutritional or human induced. Stress also impedes immune response.
From other research data, encouraging grain intake as early as possible is essential. This not just facilitates early weaning, but starch from calf grain mixes will promote skeletal growth far faster than from fibre. Fifty percent of frame growth occurs in the first six months. Restriction of starch intake produces undersized yearlings and first calf heifers that will not ‘grow out’! From three to eight weeks of age, fibre digestion is only 15% to 40%, whereas starch is 50% to 90% digestible to these young calves. A recent question posted on Facebook asked if measuring tapes were a good idea. In a word, YES. Weight gain is one of our goals, but frame growth must accompany it. Lack of starch from calf grain mixes will give weight gain from milk fat, but very little frame growth.
There is no greater joy to calf rearers than watching highly energised calves at play or running wildly in the paddock.
CALFMAX is a soluble combination of an ultra-concentrated blend of
Hydrolysed yeast, yeast extract, yeast culture for addition to calf milk
MOS, Glucans, Galactosamine, Vitamins, Minerals & BOVATEC
Plus a natural plant extract to enhance nutrient absorption
CALFMAX is available directly from Dairytech Nutrition or at the following Rural Stores
South West Vic Gippsland Northern Vic
Allansford Leongatha Cohuna
Acme Rural Supplies Browns Stockfeeds J & R Cooke Trading P/L
Colac Lang Lang Echuca
The Co-op Colac Larmax Agribarn Kober Ag Intellegence
Noorat Poowong Kyabram
Mt Noorat Farm Supplies Poowong Dairy & Hardware Dunstall Rural Supplies
Simpson Drouin Girgarre
E & RA Parlour & Co Evison Grain & Produce Dunstall Rural Supplies
Terang Yarragon Leitchville
Scanlons Dairy Centre Yarragon Rural Supplies Lipps Leitchville
Terang Coop Tongala
GTS Farm Supplies
Davies & Rose
If there is no rural store stockist near you, call Dairytech Nutrition 0400 991 814
Or visit our online store at www.dairytechnutrition.com.au
For information and supply of CALFMAX call Dairytech Nutrition 0400 991 814