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Calves tell us that all starters are not created equal!

Calves tell us that all starters are not created equal!
By Steve Brown 11 months ago

There is more than enough evidence to show that to develop a healthy, functional rumen it is important to establish an appropriate microbial population, promote growth and development of the ruminal absorptive surface area, develop rumen muscularisation and increase rumen volume.

Tissues must convert from their reliance on glucose supplied from milk to the metabolism of fatty acids as a primary substrate. Solid feed intake stimulates rumen microbial proliferation and production of microbial end products, volatile fatty acids, which have been shown to initiate rumen epithelial development. However, solid feeds differ in their efficacy to stimulate rumen development.

Chemical composition of feeds and the resultant microbial digestion end products have the greatest influence on epithelial development, metabolic transition and  performance of calves (Nocek et al., 1984).

Research has shown that calves have a marked preference for certain ingredients (wheat, maize, barley) and have a high preference for soybean products (Miller-Cuson et al., 2014).

Research has highlighted the importance of feeding cereal grains in the starter concentrate for calves (Porter et al., 2007; Hill et al., 2012; Miller-Cuson et al., 2014).

Compare the rumen papillae development of six week old calves fed three different diets. The calf fed grain from day three shows a great deal more papillae development and a much thicker, darker, and more vascularized rumen wall. In the calf fed good quality hay from three days of age, the papillae are not developed at all, and the rumen wall is quite thin.

Importance of grain

Importance of grain

  • Wynnstay’s Start ‘n’ Wean calf starter concentrate has been

    formulated based on sound research.

  • Maize, wheat and barley — optimum level of starch which is digested to create volatile fatty acids. These organic acids stimulate the growth of rumen papillae which grow longer in this healthy environment
  • WynnguardNutritionally improved straw (NIS) — slows fermentation, prevents acid peaks and enables the rumen to extract more nutrients. Increased intakes and improved daily live weight gains
  • Hipro Soya — the major ingredient in our formula - highly digestible protein source, essential for rapid growth
  • Sugar Beet Pulp, Molasses — natural sugars help growth of a healthy bacteria population to digest concentrate efficiently
  • Unique health package that provides yeast, buffers, essential minerals, vitamins and nutraceuticals to boost immunity and help the calf overcome health challenges

Steve BrownSteve Brown

Ruminant Feeds Product Manager

You can follow Steve on Twitter @SirBilly55 or contact the Wynnstay Calf Team here for more advice