Provision of an optimal environment for the calf is critical to establishing the patterns of growth and development essential to allow the heifer to express its genetic potential for milk output and reproductive capacity during its productive life. Maternal nutrition during gestation is now recognised as a key to genetic programming in utero and this influence is extended through the complexity of hormones, growth factors and immunostimulants incorporated into colostrum and milk consumed by the neonatal calf. This natural process is most often disrupted as calves are weaned abruptly to maximise milk output for commercial exploitation. The key then is to accelerate the rate of maturation of the ruminal epithelium through the provision of concentrate starter rations and high quality forage, which promote VFA production. Management systems to promote these processes in Holstein Friesian cattle are well developed, however, little is known of these processes with buffalo and Bos indicus dairy cattle such as the Sahiwal. The development of methods to program the neonate to grow faster to puberty in these species will be important to improving their productivity for the dairy industries in tropical and sub-tropical environments in the future.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|
Wynn, P., Warriach, H., Morgan, A., McGill, D., Hanif, S., Sarwar, M., Iqbal, A., Sheehy, P. A., & Bush, R. D. (2009). Perinatal Nutrition of the Calf and its Consequences for Lifelong Productivity. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences, 22(5), 756-764.