Impact of Being Sick as a Calf on Later Growth and Milk Production
I am preparing a statement on the consequences of calfhood sicknesses on growth and milk production. Below is a paragraph summarizing the findings of a recent presentation.
In a summary of research using two large dairy farms Dr. Mike Overton gave us a listing of the impact of infections resulting in scours and/or pneumonia during the first 70 days of life. These are listed:
- Weight at 90 days of age: scours calves weighed 3.1 lbs. less than healthy calves
- Weight at 90 days of age: pneumonia calves weighted 12.7 lbs. less than healthy calves
- Likeihood of being culled before first calving: pneumonia calves were 2.8 times as likely to be culled compared to healthy calves. No difference for scours calves.
- Likeihood of being culled after calving and before 150 days in milk: pneumonia calves were 1.4 times as likely to be culled compared to healthy calves. No difference for scours calves.
- Milk (305 day estimated ME): 649 pounds less milk for pneumonia calves compared to healthy calves.
Bottom line is that both scours and pneumonia depress the growth and later production of the animals both as heifers and later as milking cows. These are some handy numbers.
Reference: Overton, Mike “”Importance of Producing a Quality Dairy Replacement Heifer.” Proceeding of the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association, 2016, pp 55-59.