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Preparing ruminant health and performance from the start

Preparing ruminant health and performance from the start

The digestive tract of calves, as with other young ruminants, is particularly sensitive to pathogens and associated digestive challenges. The first months of life, calves’ digestive tract undergoes significant and extensive changes as it evolves from its initial monogastric function towards a ruminant function. Furthermore, early maternal separation can also lead to altered digestive microflora establishment (Chaucheyras-Durand, 2016), balance and function. Thus, the very first months of young ruminant life appear critical for future performance and health.

A challenging time

A 2016 field survey (internal data) conducted in Europe indicates that, in calves, morbidity could range between 10 to 50%. The first two months of life of calves appears critical for future performance (Bach et al., 2008). Good management practices and nutrition are keys to helping young ruminants cope with pathogens and digestive challenges. In this context, the innovative yeast derivative YANG has been proven to help maintain the health of calves and other young ruminants by reinforcing immunity and improving gut microbiota balance. Several field and commercial trials have shown beneficial effects in young ruminants at times of digestive challenges, including weaning.

New calves trial

The University of Bologna conducted a trial in 2017 on male Holstein calves: 57 in the control group and 101 receiving YANG in the milk replacer for up to 120 days. The objective was to evaluate the effect of YANG supplementation on the morbidity and performance of veal calves. The yeast derivative supplement helped reduce calf mortality and morbidity, reducing veterinary costs (Fig.1). The number of animals treated for enteric diseases was also reduced by 24% (p <0.05). This was confirmed by immunity biomarkers: Alfa-1 globulins were decreased in the treated group (p <0.05), which means a lower inflammatory status, while gamma globulins were increased (p <0.05), a sign of improved immune surveillance through antibodies. Average daily gain was also improved by 4% over the whole period (1.21 Kg/day vs 1.16 for control group). Overall, reduced veterinary costs and increased growth performance resulted in a high return on investment in this trial. In conclusion, nutritional management is key to limiting the impact of stresses on the digestive system and improving the natural defenses of young ruminants. In addition to good management practices, YANG represents a profitable nutritional solution to help keep calves in good health. In consequence, veterinary costs are reduced.

Effect of the multi-strain yeast derivative supplement YANG on the percentage of calves that received therapeutic treatments

Figure 1: Effect of the multi-strain yeast derivative supplement YANG on the percentage of calves that received therapeutic treatments (antiinflammatories and antibiotics). Note that two-thirds of therapeutic treatments were administered during the first month. (Unpublished data, University of Bologna, 2017).

Published Jun 5, 2019 | Updated May 29, 2023