Heifer Replacements – Calf Rearing
Many calves are born with inadequate body levels of critically important trace elements such as iodine and selenium. In some cases they do not survive calving. In others, they survive, but do not develop resistance to infections such as scours and virus pneumonia. These calves are frequently lethargic, and often have poor appetites, in spite of having received colostrum, which can only be as good as the trace element status of the cow. (A weak calf is the end result of an imbalanced or deficient cow, whose colostrum will also be deficient.)
Independent trials and ‘user’ experience have consistently shown that calf performance can be improved significantly by giving HVS Liquid Gold Cattle in the first few days of life or when introduced to new circumstances.
The inclusion of OPTiMINs in calf starter and calf weaner rations has been shown to improve immune status and growth rates. The inclusion of OPTiMINs in heifer rearing rations can help achieve heifer maturity, the ability to conceive and achieve a ‘calving down’ age at 2 years.
Trace elements and vitamins play a crucial role in the health status of replacement dairy stock. Micronutritional deficiencies usually predispose to many of the problems faced by dairy herd owners.
Vaccination failures, retained placentas, cystic ovaries, poor fertility, non-breeders, extended calving index, raised Somatic Cell Counts, clinical mastitis, low immune system activity (calf scour, virus pneumonia) and non-thriving calves can all be linked to trace element deficiencies which existed 4-6 weeks prior to calving.
By improving the trace element status, along with good nutrition, i.e. feeding good quality silage combined with the appropriate levels of energy, protein and straw or equivalent in late pregnancy, can help reduce potential problems by 95%, increase milk yield and the number of calves produced and so improve profitability.
Dairy replacement stock are managed in many different ways and so it is necessary to select the products at our disposal to suit individual situations.