The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.Rumen development in calves is critical for their post-weaning success. Pre-weaning is a short, but important, time for a young calf and is a huge management, labor, and financial investment for dairy farms. Setting the stage for a young calf by improving rumen development early can prepare calves and heifers for improved growth, both pre- and post-weaning. Calf researchers have shown that the rumen microflora establish early in the calf’s life. Strategic feeding and management before weaning can increase the growth and development of the rumen, while establishing a beneficial population of rumen bacteria. Increasing rumen butyrate concentration has been shown to increase rumen papillae development, which increases the absorptive surface area in the rumen and improves nutrient utilization. While many calf starters are high in starch to provide energy for the growing calf, excessive starch fermentation can lead to an accumulation of lactate, which can cause rumen acidosis.
Megasphaera elsdenii can improve rumen development, leading to improved calf growth
A series of trials conducted in South Africa reported that dosing calves with Megasphaera elsdenii, a native rumen microbe that converts lactate to butyrate and propionate, concluded that pre-weaned calves had longer and wider rumen papillae and increased papillae density. These findings correlated to a 39% increase in starter intake and an 8% increase in weaning weight. It also led to an 87% increase in average daily gain (lbs/day) post-weaning. The net result was a 25:1 return on investment with Lactipro.
In a follow-up trial conducted at the University of Kentucky, calves dosed with Lactipro had a 35% increase in total weight gain (through 76 days of age) following one dose of Lactipro, and a 45% increase in total weight gain following two doses of Lactipro.
Rumen health and development are crucial for a successful calf raising program. Providing a well-balanced nutrition program, along with beneficial probiotics can have a significant impact on the performance of your heifers and your bottom line.
Lactipro is available in two forms:
- LactiproFLX Calf is a small, individually sealed capsule available in a 25 dose pouch
- LactiproNXT is a convenient 10 mL oral drench available in a 20- and 100-dose pouch
Data available upon request.