The 3rd #RecraconPrima Symposium focuses on how to maximize calf welfare.

Held on Wednesday, July 12, in Santiago de Compostela.

redirected.- Last Wednesday, July 12, Nanta held its 3rd #RecraconPrima Symposium in Santiago de Compostela (Corua). More than 130 dairy industry professionals attended this new meeting, which the company holds periodically and whose main goal was the well-being of calves in the reproduction phase through the implementation of innovative initiatives.

Rebreeding accounts for 15 to 20% of the total production cost of a farm, so it is important to delve into animal management at this stage. Knowing this, Nantes is providing farmers and veterinarians with a Prima working method for rebreeding calves that prioritizes animal welfare and takes into account four key factors: colostrum, lactation, weaning and animal care.

The first speaker, Leonel Leal, Head of Lactating Calf Nutrition Research at Nutreco, elaborated on these factors and in particular on the impact of pre-weaning on calves throughout their productive life, the most important phase of the entire rearing cycle. “Early nutrition affects the metabolism of the animal in the long term,” the speaker explained, “affecting not only one organ, but the entire system.”

At this stage, the energy and protein needs of the calves must be met and the rumen must develop in order for it to function after weaning. Thus, the consumption of concentrates is just as important as the consumption of milk. With regard to colostrum administration, Leonel developed colostrum management critical control points for adequate transfer of maternal antibodies, “infusion time/rate, temperature, quality, quantity and hygiene”, as failure to do so would result in reduced survival.

Robotization to get ahead without forgetting food

Then Santiago Garcia, owner farm Asuncion, outlined his practical experience in improving well-being. Established in the 1960s, Finca La Asunción is a family farm engaged in milk production and the importation and sale of cows, whose dedication to technology and the latest innovations has enabled it to achieve and maintain high standards of animal welfare, optimizing production and ensuring profitability, all through a sustainable approach. Thus, at Finca La Asunción, robotic milking and a robotic feeding system have been implemented as key tools to improve the quality of life for both farmers and their animals. “Thanks to robotization, we can produce more milk and make animals and workers feel better,” Santiago said. All this with the help of Nanta technicians as part of the Nanta Dairy Robot program, with the ultimate goal of optimizing milking robot performance, farm efficiency and results, and therefore farm profitability.

Speaking of calves, the speaker talked about the nutrition and hygiene care they currently provide, including providing colostrum before 2 hours of age and using the Nantamilk line of milk replacers to cover the needs of calves in their first weeks of life. He concluded his presentation with the results obtained from the implementation of these new procedures, with an overall improvement in calf development and a reduction in respiratory pathologies.

Use of wet nurses and other management strategies

For his part, David Otero, sales manager for lactating ruminants in Nantes, demonstrated the practicalities of using nurses. The speaker pointed out the advantages of using automated feeding: “It gives the possibility to build various lactation curves and set fixed characteristics of milk in terms of temperature, concentration and hygiene, and also requires less labor and has the ability to collect data.”

Otero also took advantage of his presentation to show the benefits of Novalac Prima Fiber, Nanta’s new textured starter food for lactating calves, which maximizes calf growth and health while promoting calf balanced development and well-being.

At the end of the meeting, Mark J. Thomas, Managing Partner of Dairy Health & Management Services, LLC, focused his presentation on management strategies to improve calf welfare. Starting with some established growth targets to maximize productivity, Thomas assessed possible improvements in the farrowing area, as well as others, mainly related to colostrum supply, feeding and environmental conditions. Thus, with respect to colostrum, like the rest of the speakers, he stressed the importance of passive immunity, which provides “better growth rates, reduced incidence of treatment and mortality, reduced age at first calving, and increased milk yield in first and second lactations.” I also considered other aspects such as ventilation, density, hygiene and cleanliness.

Through these types of meetings, Nantes intends to help livestock keepers in their daily work on the farm, optimizing results and ensuring their well-being as well as the well-being of the animals.

The CONAFE database covers 250,000 Friesian cattle genotypes.

The CONAFE database covers 250,000 Friesian cattle genotypes.


Registration document and regulations of the National Contest of the Friesian Breed CONAFE 2023

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