Can total protein measurements in newborn calves be used to predict subsequent daily live weight gain? – Westpoint Veterinary Group

6 Oct 2018

Introduction: The calves we produce today are the cows of tomorrow. In order for these calves to achieve their full genetic potential, they must be correctly managed from birth. Initially this involves ensuring adequate passive transfer of maternal antibodies, to protect newborn calves from disease. This study aims to see if calf Total Protein level can predict subsequent daily live weight gain.

Materials and Methods: 52 dairy calves across 3 different farms were blood sampled at <7 days old and Total Protein levels (TP) measured with a refractometer. These calves were subsequently weighed using an animal weigh tape
to calculate daily live weight gains (DLWG).

Results: Farm 1 had an average DLWG of 0.83kg/day. With an average TP of 71.5ug/l Farm 2 had a DLWG of 0.5kg/day with an average TP of 53.5ug/l Farm 3 had an average DLWG of 0.63kg/day with an average TP of 63.2ug/l

Discussion: Although these results are not statistically significant, this study is ongoing and data is still being collected. Results suggest that with a higher TP level, a higher average daily live weight gain is achieved. Based on this data, a TP level >70ug/l is needed to achieve target DLWG (of 0.7kg/day).


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