Temperature rises as we head into summer. Calves energy requirements will increase as respiration rates increases when they try to drive heat from their bodies. Coupled with the increase of energy requirements, there will be a reduction in feed intake for calves. Hence, growth rate will decrease.
At 25°C and above, calves are susceptible to heat stress and they can experience the following:
Decreased feed intake
Reduced growth rate
Reduction in nutritional efficiency
In order to meet the additional energy requirements by the calves, they would need a diet that provides optimal nutritional balance of energy as well as protein to help maintain growth, despite the rise in temperature.
Since the calves utilise energy from their feed differently during higher temperatures, the calf starter formulated for warmer weathers should include:
Keep the feed fresh so that the feed intake is consistent. This is very important as it would ensure the calves are consuming sufficient energy and protein, thus supporting maintenance, immune fraction and growth.
Larvicides are designed to help maintain control of the emerging fly populations. This will help reduce disease transmission and irritation by flies in the calf housing areas.
Highly Digestible Organic Trace Minerals
Studies have shown that incorporating highly digestible organic trace minerals, especially organic chromium, are proven in providing nutrients at cellular level. This will allow the calves to utilise energy more efficiently.
There are many calf starter in the market. It is important for the farmers to look beyond nutritional label and educate themselves regarding the actual feed technologies and supporting research that will allow a superior product to deliver greater performance.