Optimisng health and productivity outcomes of dairy bred calves: use of integrated data and alternative management

Project Details


A feasibility study looking at the grouping of dairy bred calves upon arrival at a rearing unit from various source farms. Calves entering such units are coming from various unit where they were born and are therefore of differing status due to different management practices and have also been exposed to differing pathogens. The groupings would be based on an industry developed set of criteria to determine a proxy health status of each calf entering the rearing unit. The calves would then be grouped accordingly based on their proxy health status grading with a few different combinations e.g. group entirely composed of "high health status" calves, group composed entirely of " sub-standard health status" and a group containing a mixture of both. The calves would be monitored in terms of growth, activity and health through the recording of liveweight at prescribed time points (such as upon entering the rearing unit, midway through the rearing phase and then at weaning), the use of a commercially available eartag sensor which would provide health alerts. Some lung ultrasound scanning would also be carried out at the same time points as the recording of liveweights to examine the lung health of the calves, providing another layer of health recording information.
The aim of the work would be to demonstrate that grouping calves accordingly can prevent incidences of disease and manage calves more precisely/in a more targeted manner based on the proxy health status.
Short titleImproving calf health on dairy-beef rearer units
Effective start/end date1/11/2131/03/22


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