Laura Palczynski, precision livestock researcher at Innovation for Agriculture has recently published a scientific article exploring attitudes, advice and practices around dairy calf feeding.
Titled "Appropriate Dairy Calf Feeding from Birth to Weaning: It’s an Investment for the Future”, the paper has already successfully generated interest having been read over 400 times.
Laura wrote the paper towards her PhD thesis which she is studying for at Harper Adams University, alongside her work for Innovation for Agriculture.
The paper can be accessed for free here or a summary can be read below.
At the time of publishing Laura also published a second paper which highlights some challenges in translating ideal colostrum management recommendations into practice on farms. Unfortunately this paper is not open access but the abstract can be read here.
"Appropriate Dairy Calf Feeding from Birth to Weaning: It’s an Investment for the Future” - In summary:
'Research has indicated that dairy farms often do not feed calves according to recommended best practice, despite legislation and industry advisory efforts. This study used interviews with dairy farmers and their advisors to investigate why farmers feed calves the way they do. Various calf feeding practices were used by participating farmers, largely based on perceived convenience and calf performance. Advisors were concerned that calves were commonly underfed, which may be partly due to farmers receiving inadequate instructions for calf feeding. Our results highlight the need for more consistent and effective recommendations for farmers regarding calf feeding and weaning. Standard guidelines for calf milk replacers should be improved to ensure that calves are fed enough to support basic biological functions and growth. Further research is needed to establish best practices for weaning calves whilst supporting rumen development, health and weight gain. All recommendations for calf feeding should facilitate the achievement of standard industry targets including rearing replacement dairy heifers to calve by 24 months of age.'
Please contact Laura if you are interested in finding out more about her work.