“The difference good colostrum management makes is startling. Calves that have had the right quantity of the right quality colostrum quickly enough are far more productive animals,”
Matt Nightingale C.E.O Meadow Quality
Here at MQ we believe in giving animals the best opportunities to thrive. It has been proven that feeding colostrum in the hours following birth increases immunity. This in turn reduces the requirement for antibiotic treatment.
We hope that by sending messages about the importance of colostrum management to our supply chains, posting information on our social media feeds and on producer invoices we will be able to encourage more dairy farmers – as well as beef and sheep farmers – to get colostrum management right in the first few hours.
Cattle veterinary surgeon Tim Potter from Westpoint says “Born without an immune system, new born animals need to take antibodies on board through their mothers’ colostrum. But with their stomachs only able to absorb these antibodies for a short period, it’s estimated that 95% of dairy farms don’t manage to give that all-important feed within the ideal two-hour timeframe after birth.” He says a combination of this and poor quality colostrum means that less than a third of calves currently receive sufficient colostral immunity, and the whole supply chain is losing out as a result. “We have a great opportunity here to reduce the need for antibiotic treatments through improved health and immunity, but also to increase daily liveweight gain and reach service or finishing weights quicker.”
Matt Nightingale C.E.O of Meadow Quality says that the dairy sector in particular has huge productivity gains to make by addressing an issue that most often just needs time and patience.
“The difference good colostrum management makes is startling. Calves that have had the right quantity of the right quality colostrum quickly enough are far more productive animals,” explains Mr Nightingale.
“They put on weight better and have a far lower incidence of diseases such as scour or pneumonia. They also handle stress periods such as arrival on the farm and weaning far better, and that’s a big win for rearers and the dairy beef sector as a whole.”
Chris Dodds of the LAA explains “Giving calves the best start means they have better, healthier lives and they create more income in the enterprise, whether they are for breeding or for meat. That’s why we’ll be encouraging our members to raise this issue with dairy and beef farmers, but also with sheep farmers as this issue very much affects lambs as well,” he explains.
The #ColostrumIsGold campaign will run throughout February and into March 2019. It is the second year the campaign has been promoted, with the sheep sector showing most engagement in 2018.
A wide range of advice including technical guides is available on the website www.colostrumisgold.org to support farmers and veterinary surgeons looking to review or improve their practices. People are also encouraged to share hints, tips and experiences via Twitter and through the website using the hashtag #ColostrumIsGold.
A prize draw offering a range of products to suit beef, dairy, pig and sheep farmers will be held at the end of February and anyone posting or tweeting during February using the hashtag will be automatically entered.