Feb. 19 2024 08:25 AM

Sponsored content provided by Diamond V. Written by Sara Sievert - Senior Marketing Manager, Ruminants

In the realm of beef cross calves, the presence of beef genetics imparts inherent advantages, promising greater consistency and robust muscling when compared to their all-dairy breed counterparts. However, recent research underscores the profound influence of early calf care and nutrition on the future growth and performance of these crossbred marvels.

This blog explores the critical role of proper nutrition and care during the preweaning phase and beyond, laying the foundation for a successful beef cross program that delivers high-quality products to the beef supply chain.

A newborn beef cross calf should have the same nutrition as any other dairy calf:

Just like beef calves, beef cross counterparts thrive when they receive proper care early in life. This includes quality colostrum at birth (feeding a substantial portion of high-quality colostrum within the first few hours after birth provides essential antibodies, safeguarding the calf from early-life disease), dipping the navel, a high plane of nutrition in the nursery phase, and transition onto a balanced diet with an adequate amount of roughage, all of which collectively influence the calf's beginning and, inevitably, their final performance.

In addition to a strong nutrition program, the calves need to be born and raised in an environment that is as clean and dry as possible. That starts with a clean, dry calving area that transitions to a disinfected housing area that is also clean, dry, and well-ventilated.

Establishing optimal gut health and a strong immune system is critical:

Beef cross calves embark on a journey marked by diverse programs and environments, making the establishment of optimal gut health and a robust immune system a paramount concern. A mismanaged birth can expose them to bacterial and viral threats, potentially culminating in illnesses such as bovine respiratory disease (BRD) and liver abscesses.

Incorporating a postbiotic feed additive into the diet can help improve gut health. Postbiotic feed additives contain beneficial metabolites that promote digestive health and support the immune system. Work with your nutritionist and veterinarian to develop a feeding plan and health protocols that meet the specific needs of the herd and monitor the animals for any signs of health problems.

Start beef cross calves on a growth path at an early age:

Beef cross calves shoulder higher expectations for growth and performance compared to their all-dairy counterparts. It is essential to initiate their growth trajectory from an early age, as nutrition plays a central role in shaping various facets of development, encompassing gut health, immune system strength, muscle development, marbling, and overall growth.

Producers hold the reins in determining a calf's lifelong performance through early nutrition. By feeding a higher plane of milk nutrition during the calf's formative stages, we lay the groundwork for optimal development, ensuring a promising future for the calf.

In the fascinating world of beef cross calves, the journey begins at birth and continues throughout their lives. Through meticulous care and nutrition, we not only ensure their well-being but also unlock their potential as high-quality contributors to the beef supply chain.