Delivering real benefits: Maxx Calf Health
A successful calf rearing programme is the basis of every healthy, high performing herd, whether finishing cattle, suckler or dairy cows.
Scours and respiratory disease continue to be the major causes of calf sickness and mortality in the UK, with an estimated 57% of dairy and 63% of beef herds experiencing episodes of infectious scours and 20% of all youngstock showing signs of respiratory disease. In addition, animals will be at higher risk of respiratory disease over the housing period.
Many of the pathogens that cause illness are present in virtually all farms meaning calf health depends on the interaction between the calf, its environment and its management.
Good calf management starts with colostrum which forms the basis of disease control for the newborn calf. New-born calves are born with a completely naïve immune system so are dependent on ingesting and absorbing antibodies from their dam’s colostrum for protection from disease. Antibodies absorbed from colostrum will protect the calf for around six weeks. However, it takes up to eight months for the immune system to fully mature meaning good nutrition, including a focus on minerals and vitamins, is key to encouraging immune development during this period.
Research has shown that calves receiving the correct levels of trace elements before weaning are heavier at weaning and stay healthier throughout their lives. Higher levels of trace elements also help increase feed intake, improve feed conversion efficiency and daily liveweight gain supporting physical performance as well.
A youngstock rearing programme should target growth rates of at least 0.7kg/day from birth in order to reach 55% of mature bodyweight at bulling (by 13-15 months for 22-24 month calving) for breeding heifers or 200kg liveweight when moving beef cattle onto growing diets. To achieve this, the development of an efficient rumen and hindgut is fundamental. As well as improved digestion, the gut is one of the first lines of defence against pathogens so gut heath also plays a fundamental part in helping keep calves and youngstock healthy.
MAXX Calf Health is a controlled intake lick bucket developed specifically for calves and youngstock containing unique ingredients proven to support animal health, immunity and growth.
MAXX Calf Health contains a yeast fermentation product that has been proven to show consistent beneficial effects on daily liveweight gain, feed conversion efficiency, ruminal and intestinal development and also support stock through respiratory disease and scouring episodes. Minerals, vitamins and trace elements are included to complement starter and rearer pellets and to help support immune development, metabolism and growth. Zinpro Availa® Zinc is added as it is proven to help support gut integrity as well as immune function and response at times of stress such as scouring and respiratory disease. In addition, natural decongestants from plant extracts and essential oils help support a healthy respiratory system during periods of stress or mild and damp weather such as autumn housing.
A study undertaken with Holstein x Friesian heifer calves offered Maxx Calf Health from 2-weeks through to 4 months of age demonstrated a clear benefit in liveweight gain. Calves offered Maxx Calf Health had an increase daily liveweight gain of 60 g/h/d compared to those animals offered no supplementation. This improved daily liveweight gain reduced the number of days required to reach target weight and therefore gave a return on investment for rearing costs. Furthermore, calves offered Maxx Calf Health showed less incidence of respiratory issues and recovered quicker.
MAXX Calf Health is suitable for all dairy and beef calves from 2 weeks of age through to breeding or moving fattening cattle to finishing rations. It is formulated to be used alongside existing starter or rearer rations.
MAXX Calf Health is a dedicated calf health product, which can help support health and growth during the critical rearing period without changing their feeding system and gain the benefits to support long-term productivity in all cattle.