Two calves

UNH reveals the secret ingredient for strong calves

In *All, Agricultural Economy, Agricultural Systems, Livestock by AgIsAmerica

Malnourished calves are a major burden on farmers, both financially and emotionally. Many calves are unable to develop a strong immune system due to the quality of their mother’s colostrum (the first milk produced postpartum). This milk is packed with nutrients newborns need to survive, but over half of colostrum produced in the United States is considered “poor quality.”

A new study from the University of New Hampshire suggests feeding dairy cows the vitamin niacin before they give birth improves the quality of their colostrum.

This is great news for the dairy industry. In New Hampshire alone, dairy farms account for $141 million in total output and more than $19 million in labor income. Across the U.S., there are about 51,500 dairy farms and 9 million dairy cows.

Consistent profits rely on efficiently caring for herds. After feed and labor, tending to calves is the third greatest cost to the producer. Reducing health-care costs and improving the growth of calves can lead to better profits.

Niacin helps achieve this goal in two ways. First, the vitamin increased protein production for heifers. More protein means more antibodies in their colostrum. Second, niacin improved blood flow, allowing more antibodies to travel to the udder.

Using this supplement, dairy farmers across the country and around the world can retain more calves and ensure the future of their herd.

Click here to read the original article from UNH. 

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