Strong influence of feed on udder development confirmed yet again

The full development of the udder strongly depends on the feed the calf is given in its first 8 weeks. This has once again been demonstrated by a recent study in the United States. The results show that increased feeding of calf milk replacer has a major impact on udder growth and development of the mammary glands after the first 54 days of life.

The full development of the udder strongly depends on the feed the calf is given in its first 8 weeks. This has once again been demonstrated by a recent study in the United States. The results show that increased feeding of calf milk replacer has a major impact on udder growth and development of the mammary glands after the first 54 days of life.

Already in 2005 research by Brown showed that the volume of milk replacer given to calves in the first 8 weeks has a huge effect on udder development. Both the number of developed mammary cells (Parenchym DNA) and cell activity (Parenchyma RNA) are strongly dependent on the supply of nutrients, as demonstrated by the Brown research.

Correlation between calf's feed intake and udder development

Results were recently published of a trial by Cornell University in Ithaca in the US (F. Soberon and M.E. van Amburgh) that also investigated the correlation between feed intake in the first phase of life and udder development. A control group of 6 calves were fed 32.6 kilos of milk replacer (0.6 kilos a day) over the first 54 days of life. Over the same period, a test group of the same size was fed 69.5 kilos of milk replacer (1.3 kilos a day).

Mammary tissue responds strongly to higher levels of nutrition

After 54 days, the total mammary weight of the test group was 4.5 times higher than for the control group. In the test group, the weight of the Parenchyma, the milk secreting tissue of the udder, was 5.9 times higher than for the control group. These results show yet again that udder development can be very heavily influenced by the nutrients the calf is fed in the form of milk replacer during the first phase of life. The kidneys and liver also grow faster the higher the levels of feed intake are, but the response of the mammary tissue is by far the greatest

Making the most of genetic potential

The daily volume of milk replacer fed to the test group was far beyond the levels normally given to calves in practice. For most dairy farms this represents a major opportunity to realise markedly stronger udder development and thus to make optimal use of the genetic potential of their animals.

This study is fully in line with the Sprayfo vision: Life Start sets Life Performance. The Sprayfo Life Start concept encourages feeding many litres at high concentrations, with a focus on the first five weeks.

Do you want to know which feeding schedule fits your farm best? We would be happy to assist!

 

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