Saturday, May 25, 2013

Poland May 20, 2013
Had a great time in Poland if only for 1.5 days. I flew from Munich to Poznan on May 19. If you try to find Poznan on a map it is on the Warte River in west-central Poland - a city of about 1/2 million.

My host and I drove to a meeting place about an hour from the airport - a huge old residence that had been restored since the end of the communist era. Great Polish food and a chance to visit with folks that came in early for the meeting the next day.

Thirty-two folks for the seminar on young calf management. Twenty-four farmers and eight Alta-Genetics employees made up the group. Farm sizes represent ranged from a low of 50 to a high of 1,100 cows. Many farms in the 300-700 range. 

As we reviewed aspects of newborn care and colostrum management I found the questions to be quite similar to the ones at my seminars in UK in March this year. Must be that calves are calves regardless where they are. 

The most common feeding volume for colostrum among those present was 2 litres. One or two measured colostrum quality with a Colostrometer. We had a very large range of times for first feeding of colostrum from one hour to over 18 hours. I hope after our session and the exercises that we did together to learn how "Sooner is always better" for feeding colostrum the participants will go home more convinced that it is better for calves to feed colostrum sooner after birth. 

None of those present were checking colostrum for bacteria. We did discuss this - how to take and handle samples, where in this region of Poland they could be submitted for culturing and how to interpret the results. Several of those present (actually veterinarians from large farms) had used blood serum total protein testing to assess the effectiveness of the colostrum management program. For the balance of the other farms this was new information - I was questioned quite carefully about these process so I hope some farms will make the commitment to do this in 2013.

Finished the seminar with a wonderful meal and then off for a 600km trip to the next meeting site in Germany.

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