Calf rearing for optimal rumen development

Calf rearing for optimal rumen development

23 July 2019

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It’s no secret optimal calf health is crucial when it comes to meeting targets. But what role does rumen development play and how can you enhance it to achieve better outcomes overall? A ruminant nutritionist offers some insight and talks about a nutritional innovation to help ensure calf rearing success.

Calves are a dairy farm’s future producers and represent a valuable investment for the ongoing productivity of a farm. To reach their potential, calves need a great start and this means minimising health issues by supporting their developing immune system.

“Keep in mind calves are born without an immune system,” explains Natalie Hughes, SealesWinslow’s Nutrition and Quality Manager. “They get their initial immunity from colostrum, which delivers vital antibodies to help fight off potential infections.”

It’s important to note the rumen goes through a dramatic transformation and demands a great deal of attention. Its successful development determines how well nutrients can be absorbed from feed. “A calf with a well-developed rumen can get more out of its feed and is simply better placed to meet liveweight targets,” says Natalie.

The dual focus on enhanced immunity and optimal rumen development is a sensible approach; it supports animal health and good growth rates while also setting calves up for improved lifetime performance.

The most reliable way of achieving these outcomes is through nutrition. Given calves consume very small volumes of food, you can achieve remarkable growth results, over and above best practice feeding, with modest amounts of supplements which aid digestion and boost intakes.

When asked about the ideal nutritional approach, Natalie says it’s a textbook case for delivering targeted additives that boost the growth of beneficial rumen bacteria and support the immune response.

Delivering the perfect blend of additives in the right dosage and in a palatable and convenient formulation can be hit and miss. That’s why she’s excited about Maxx Calf Health, a powerful new product that has just been introduced to New Zealand by SealesWinslow.

“It’s an innovative dehydrated molasses block with a real difference,” she explains. “For starters it includes Diamond V XPC fermentation technology and is formulated with a yeast culture that targets growth of certain rumen bacteria to enhance the growth of rumen papillae, which in turn promotes nutrient and mineral absorption.” This proprietary nutritional technology has been validated by extensive peer-reviewed research* and delivers an all-natural fermentation product with beneficial effects on liveweight gain, feed conversion efficiency and rumen development.

Maxx Calf Health contains Zinpro Zinc – a highly available organic zinc crucial for immunity and keratin formation to ensure skin and hoof integrity. Zinc also plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy gut system which comes to the fore at times of stress by reducing the risk of leaky gut. The formulation also includes menthol to support healthy lung development.

Maxx Calf Health is a powerful nutritional tool that supports the immune system and maintains the general health of your calves. Its novel formula represents a new benchmark and a reliable way to take your calf rearing to the next level.

And the beauty of dehydrated molasses blocks lies in their very nature - apart from the convenience of simply placing a tub, calves lick the block throughout the day which ensures they are drip-fed with valuable minerals to support rumen microbes.

Maxx Calf Health is an exciting new nutritional option that delivers the latest in rumen development technology and is well worth a try.

To find out how you can take your calf rearing up a notch, contact your local Farm Source team or head to

*Lesmeister et al. 2004. J. Dairy Sci. 87:1832-1839

Article supplied by SealesWinslow