Dr. Gemma Chuck BVetMed PhD
We cannot push calves to grow too much in the isometric growth phase. The more calves grow in the pre-wean phase, the better. This is the message from Dr. Chuck in her first presentation to the NZARN.
As part of her PhD thesis, data was collected from 1300 dairy heifers across 9 south west Victorian dairy farms. After these animals were reared to maturity, lactation performance outcomes (milk volume, kg protein and kg fat yield) were tracked up to 100-day and 250-day performance.
This long term study found that the age at calving and pre-pubertal average daily gain had the largest impacts on lactation performance. These studies further support the importance of nutrition and management of the pre-weaned calf.
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