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Case Study: Effects Of Colostrum Ingestion on Lactational Performance

Extract: 

Abstract
This study was designed to evaluate the effects of feeding two different volumes of colostrum immediately after birth on growth and lactational performance as growing heifers and lactating cows. Brown Swiss heifers were fed 2 L (n = 37) or 4 L (n = 31) of high quality (Grade 1) colostrum within the first hour of birth. Second and subsequent milk feedings were identical for both groups. Each animal received some colostrum daily for 14 d. Veterinary costs were approximately doubled for heifers fed 2 L of colostrum compared with heifers fed 4 L of colostrum. Those animals fed 4 L gained significantly greater daily BW compared with herdmates fed 2 L (1.03 ± 0.03 vs 0.80 ± 0.02 kg; P<0.001). Age at conception did not differ between the two groups of animals and was <14 mo. Animals fed 4 L of colostrum at birth produced significantly more milk compared with those fed 2 L (9907 ± 335 and 11,294 ± 335 kg vs 8952 ± 341 and 9642 ± 341 kg at first and second lactations, respectively) when lactation records were adjusted as 305-d mature equivalent (ME). Overall, feeding the greater volume of colostrum and then treating animals identically in terms of herd management translated into an advantage of 550 kg of actual milk produced per cow over the first two lactations.Herd managers should encourage the feeding of 4 L of colostrum to newborn calves because, in addition to health advantages that are well documented in past studies, there would be direct economic return to the producer of approximately $160 per cow in additional milk produced over two lactations.

Overall, feeding the greater volume of colostrum and then treating animals identically in terms of herd management translated into an advantage of 550 kg of actual milk produced per cow over the first two lactations

Source: 

S.N. Faber, PAS *, N.E. Faber*, T.C. Mccauley, MD *,†, R.L. Ax


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