Ambition: innovation in calf immunity

However well we manage our calves they will be exposed to stress. 

Events such as weaning, dehorning or fluctuations in environmental temperatures lead to the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol, which can impair natural immune function, increasing the likelihood of health problems and supressed growth rates. 

It is unsurprising that farmers have experienced higher levels of pneumonia in their youngstock over the last six months, following an autumn and winter of high rainfall and mild weather.

If heifers are to calve-in at the most economical age of 24 months, they can ill afford any setbacks in growth. That is where Ambition Calf + OmniGen-AF can help. OmniGen-AF is proven to promote natural immune function in the face of unexpected and expected stress events. This can result in fewer health treatments, fewer respiratory disorders, and lower treatment costs.

A wealth of scientific data and recent farm evaluations have provided a high level of confidence in OmniGen-AF as a key component of successful calf rearing. A 2010 farm trial featuring 200 Holstein bull calves found fewer health issues in calves fed OmniGen-AF compared to those that did not receive it, leading to 43% reduction in medicine spend. This is an important consideration for many, considering growing pressure on farmers to reduce antibiotic use. 

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Ambition Calf is designed for high performance systems, which have 24-month calving in mind. The 18% protein feed is formulated with new Precision Nutrition nutrients, including carbohydrate type, fibre index and acid load – to encourage dry matter intake, high daily liveweight gain and improved lifetime yield. 

To further support calf immunity OmniGen-AF is also included in our Nukamel OmniSmart Calf Milk, a high performance, whey-based milk powder with at least 10% skimmed powder. This provides calves with the required dose of the feed supplement prior to weaning, complemented by the Ambition Calf.

Ambition Calf Pellets

A unique 18% protein feed – designed to be fed from day one and up to 300kg in high performance heifers.  – OmniGen-AF helps support the immune system. – Unique mineral package suitable for calves and growing heifers. – Example of typical ingredients: barley, wheat gluten, soya, sugar beet pulp. – Calves should be eating 1.5kg per head per day before weaning.

Why OmniGen-AF for calves?

43% reduction in medicine spend:

  • A 2010 trial carried out in Pennsylvania looked at the effects of feeding milk powder with OmniGenAF to Holstein bull calves, which were fed milk for 20 weeks.
  • There were 200 calves in the trial. Those fed OmniGen-AF had fewer health issues than those that did not receive it, leading to 43% less medicine use (Bewley, 2010).

12.5% increase in liveweight gain:

  • A study (Bewley, 2010) assessed growth rates of Holstein heifers on a commercial calf unit in eastern New York. Calves fed OmniGen-AF as an addition to the milk powder and via the dry calf feed – from birth to four months of age – had a daily liveweight gain 12.5% higher than the control group that were not fed the supplement.

Summary

Mole Valley Farmers always aim to share the most up-to-date research with our customers. This includes investigating new ideas about calf development and preparation for weaning, paying particular attention to the non-fibrous carbohydrate fraction of our starter feeds and the link between elevated protein levels and post weaning growth.  

Following trial work carried out by Mole Valley Farmers in collaboration with Volac and Reading University that indicated feeding higher levels of protein from eight weeks of age can lead to increased growth rates, Ambition Calf 23 + OmniGen-AF has also been developed. 

To find out more about OmniGen-AF, please visit moleonline.com/omniGen-AF  

Email omnigen@molevalleyfarmers.com

T: Rachel Smithyman on 07967 309162

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