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How to maximise the health of the newborn calf in the early days


As part of AHI and Teagasc CalfCare Virtual Week, Michelle McGrath, Muireann Conneely and Niamh Field join Emma-Louise Coffey on this week’s Dairy Edge podcast to discuss the care of the newborn calf to maximise health in the early days.

Michelle explains that calves are born with no immunity and rely on colostrum to protect them against disease in the first weeks of life until they establish their own immunity. Michelle outlines the priority is the first milk from the cow within the first two hours of life and at least three litres in quantity.

Muireann identifies the igG as the most important immunoglobulin contained in colostrum and explains that farms should target an igG concentration of at least 50 mg/ml, which reads 22 on the Brix Refractometer.

Niamh then gives advice on how to eliminate or minimise the risk of exposure to Johnes disease. Calving pens should be kept clean and calves should be removed from calving pens as soon as possible to reduce the chances of interacting with cow faeces.

Any cow that has tested positive for Johnes or a cow that is displaying symptoms of Johnes should be calved separately and their colostrum and milk should not be fed to calves.

For more episodes from the Dairy Edge podcast visit the show page at: https://www.teagasc.ie/thedairyedge