During the Technical Forum at EuroTier, the initial insights from ongoing longitudinal studies on the benefits of enhanced neonatal milk feeding were presented by Trouw Nutrition LifeStart researcher, Dr Harma Berends.
First insights show enhanced neonatal milk feeding improves organ development and immune function, and changes in metabolic pathways that may explain greater overall health and potential for lifetime milk production.
”The preliminary data indicate that organ development, the growth of the liver, pancreas and mammary gland are enhanced by this higher plane of nutrition. There is also a strong dietary effect leading to clear differences. Proper management up to and during weaning, providing increased levels of milk pre-weaning raises the lifetime potential of each animal. The data clearly indicate that the main metabolic pathways are altered by higher feeding planes”, Berends explains.
Looking at nutrient load when increasing the level of nutrition, she further explains: “While the nutritional requirements for maintenance stay the same, the requirements for growth shift with increased milk feeding. These requirements do not just increase at the pace of growth, but they also need to be balanced properly, otherwise a risk exists of exceeding tolerance for some nutrients.” Understanding that weaning can be more of a challenge with higher planes of nutrition, Dr Berends states: “With proper management, LifeStart calves can thrive through the process. By weaning later, 8 weeks instead of 6 for example, average daily growth and energy intakes remain higher through the weaning process. Gradual weaning is also more effective than abrupt weaning.”
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