French company Lesaffre feed additives has introduced the ‘Program Neonate’. The programme, for dairy calves, aims to give the young animals a good start early on in life to make them more productive and healthier throughout their production period as a dairy cow.
The programme was officially launched at the EuroTier, held last week in Hannover, Germany. The company addresses that optimising the management of calves can reduce the risk of neonatal diarrhoea and can improve the growth of the calves and hence improve milk production. It can also improve the immune acquisition at birth.
The ‘Program Neonate’ consists of supplying certain feed ingredients during three different stages of the calves life. It already starts in the womb. Pregnant cows receive certain yeast based additives to stimulate immune transfer to the calves and to improve colostrum quality. Trials showed that the IgG was increased in the colostrum after cows received these feed ingredients.
After birth, the neonate calves then receive a specific dietary formula to reduce the risk of neonatal diarrhoea (Optisaf First). The calves receive a single daily dose for seven days. By doing this, the local immune response in the GIT is modulated, hence preventing pathogens from attaching to the epithelial surface of the intestines. The main active ingredients in Optisaf First are yeast parietal fractions, glucosamine and probiotics. In the third phase (up to weaning), the calves receive a yeast based product to boost growth. This helps in achieving that the animals have their first calving at 24 months of age.
According to Lesaffre, the programme is very flexible and can be adjusted to the farmer’s specific needs.