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- ADVERTORIAL -


LIFESTART PROGRAMME FOR SUSTAINABLE, IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY


T e new LifeStart programme by Trouw Nutrition brings together world-class expertise on animal health and nutrition with practical farm management experience, to fi nd sustainable ways of improving productivity, as NWF’s Adam Chalklin explains.


billion people to feed by 2050 and an ever-greater pressure to become more sustainable in the way we feed the population. Alongside this is a drive to improve animal welfare and health, using natural and sustainable methods. LifeStart has helped to define a proven methodology for rearing healthy and more productive cows in this way.


G


lobal farming faces huge challenges with nine


entirely natural phenomenon which exists in all kinds of mammals, including human beings. The effect is best described as an improvement of the whole life health and performance of individuals beyond what would previously have been considered their full potential.


The cause of this effect is optimised growth in the neo-natal period. Growth in animals is understood to be dependent on four key factors: nutrition, endocrine function, management and genetics, with genetics long thought to be the most powerful of these in determining maximum growth potential.


Successful calf rearing is based on a virtuous circle of good health, quality nutrition and strong growth. LifeStart works by proactively and positively affecting all three components through a natural process known as metabolic programming.


Metabolic programming, the key scientific principle behind the LifeStart programme, is an


The emerging science of epigenetics, which examines changes in the expression of genes not directly caused by changes in the DNA sequence itself, suggests gene expression appears to be affected by the quality of nutrition and the absence of disease in this crucial early period.


Research has shown that by providing quality nutrition during the first growing stage of a calf’s life, lifetime performance can be enhanced, as their full genetic potential is optimised.


Accelerated growth in the first eight weeks of life is a key factor in the development of mammary tissue.


Adam Chalklin NWF


A healthy environment It’s not just nutrition which is


key, of course, good health is also essential. The LifeStart programme includes five ‘critical control points’ leading to a healthy and productive environment for raising calves:


1. Comfort: dry, bright, soft, well-ventilated


3. Colostrum: four litres within the first six hours


2. Consistency: feeding according to a schedule


4. Calories: 150g/litre of quality milk replacer


5. Cleanliness: hygienic birth and housing


The LifeStart programme aims to produce calves with strong, healthy growth and optimal rumen development with less diarrhoea and respiratory issues. These calves then have the best chance of becoming strong, durable cows with higher milk yields and a higher lifetime production.


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