Heifer Rearing

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Nutritional Strategies to Maximise
Longevity & Performance
of Heifer Replacements
Heifer Rearing
The issues
• Heifer rearing is the 2nd biggest cost in milk production
• It takes 1.3 lactations to cover this cost
• 20% of heifers do not reach their first lactation
• 40% of heifers do not enter a second lactation
These failures are mainly due to:
• Poor calf management – housing, health etc.
• Poor initial growth and bone development
• Poor rumen development
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
The importance of Colostrum
• Naïve calves
• Antibodies
• Growth promoters – body and mammary
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
Antibody concentration
Passive immunity
(colostrum)
High risk
period
1d
14 d
Active immunity
(immune system)
Time
Antibodies from the colostrum protects the calf until their
own immune systems are fully functional.
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
The importance of Colostrum
• Naïve calves
• Antibodies
• Growth promoters – body and mammary
However:
• 50% of calves do not take in sufficient colostrum and often it is fed
too late
• Large variation in colostrum quality
(Age, immunity, yield, length of dry period, mineral and protein status)
• 80% of colostrum less than recommended minimum level of
antibodies (60 g IgG/l)
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
Colostrum Immunoglobulin Concentration
Ig (g/L)
Mean
SE
Min
Max
IgG
40.96
10.23
14.5
94.8
IgA
1.66
0.99
0.5
4.4
IgM
4.32
2.84
1.1
21.0
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
What colostrum to feed to who?
• Avoid feeding heifer colostrum
• Ideal colostrum is from cows in their 3rd lactation
• Measure colostrum quality using colostrometer
• Monitor calf antibody levels – ZST
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
When to feed colostrum?
• 3 litres in first 2 hours of life = 20 mins continuous suckling
• Minimum of 6 litres in first 6 hours of life
• 90% chance of survival
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
• Low antibody levels = 6x more likely to die in first 6 months
• 57% of all calf deaths are directly linked to poor antibody levels
• Poor immunity = gut damage and poor performance
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
Calf Feeding
Aims
• Maximise rumen development to maximise calf growth
• Utilise calf efficiency for optimum growth
Age
0-10
weeks
3
mnths
4
mnths
6
mnths
8
mnths
10
mnths
12
mnths
14
mnths
16
mnths
18
mnths
21
mnths
Feed
Efficiency
(%)
56
26
24
28
12
10
9.4
9.2
8.9
8.3
7.3
• Wean at 6 weeks
• Produce heifers that are “fit not fat”
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
Feeding Milk
• Do not feed antibiotic and high cell count milk to calves
• Calf Milk Replace provides a consistent supply of quality milk
until the rumen is developed
• Feed a high protein (24%), medium fat (17%) milk replacer such
as Harbro Premium Plus to optimise bone and protein growth
without putting on fat
Harbro
Milk Replacers
Heifer Rearing
Key Features
• Carefully selected milk (whey) solids with maximum nutritional value
• Balanced blend of vegetable fats and oils, homogenised and emulsified
for maximum digestibility
• Full supplement of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Enhanced
levels in Premium Plus.
• Nuklospray – a special complex of co-spray dried pre digested
(hydrolysed) protein and dairy products which are more readily
digested and absorbed
• Acidified to ensure freshness for up to 24 hours
Premium PlusPremium
Plus
For fast frame growth, allowing
heifers to achieve target weights
to bulling and beyond
Protein
Oil
Ash
Fibre
- 24%
- 17%
- 7.5%
- 0.05%
Heifer
Rearing
Economy
Economy
Enables beef and dairy calves to
achieve growth rates required for
lifetime performance
Protein
Oil
Ash
Fibre
- 22%
- 15%
- 7.0%
- 0.05%
Concentrated Milk Protein
Whey vs skimmed milk protein ?
Protein
(% of dry matter)
Immunoglobulin
(% of protein)
% of protein as …
- Casein protein
- Whey protein
Skimmed Milk
26
Whey
13
Colostrum
58
<1.5
7.5
35-45
80
20
0
100
35
65
• Whey more easily absorbed than Casein – Body Building
• Casein clots and makes calves feel full – Whey does not
clot and therefore has higher DMI
Heifer Rearing
Feeding the rumen
Heifer Rearing
Feeding the rumen
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
Developing the rumen papillae
• Feed grain – to produce essential VFA’s and
drop rumen pH
• Feed “scratchy fibre” to stimulate the rumen
wall
• Allow access to dry feed from as young as 3
days old
• Limit milk to a maximum of 4 litres/day
• Provide unlimited access to water
• Enough to cover a tennis court
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
Buttercup Calf Starter
• High in slow release starch
• Rumen Friendly Concept – Cut Grain
• Yea-Sacc – stimulates the growth of rumen
microbes and buffers rumen pH
• Fish Oils – increases calf vitality and boosts
immunity
• Biotin – promotes strong hoof growth
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
Weaning
• Start to wean when the calf is eating
1kg of Calf Starter over 3 consecutive
days
• Reduce milk and increase Calf Starter
over 10 days
• Allow continued free access to straw
and water
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
Heifer Feeding
Aims
• Grow Heifers steadily to achieve the optimum weight at breeding
350-420kg liveweight (55% of mature weight)
• Calve at 22-24 months old
• Calve with good condition
• Calve at the correct body weight (90% of mature weight)
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
Heifer Feeding
Key periods
Target ADG (kg/d)
• 3 – 8 months: Developing the Mammary Gland
0.65
• 8 – 13 months: Puberty and growing frame
0.85
• 13 – 16 months: Breeding period
0.85
• 16 – 23 months: Pregnancy period
0.80
• 23 – 24 months: Month before calving
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
8000
305-day milk yield (kg)
7800
7600
7400
7200
7000
6800
6600
6400
6200
6000
600
700
800
900
1000
Average daily gain (g/d)
1100
1200
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
Effect of Age at Calving on Replacements
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
Effect of Age at Calving on Fertility and Production
Total Milk Value @ 25ppl
£6258
£5099
£4168
£2008
Heifer
Rearing
Heifer Rearing
Thank You
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