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Effective pre-calving nutrition in late pregnancy will ensure suckler cows produce colostrum of better quality than those given a standard feed.

In a feeding trial where colostrum was tested by Harper Adams University, cows fed Rumenco’s Lifeline Pre-calver supplement on award-winning Stabiliser suckler producer James Evans’ farm in Shropshire recorded a 9.46% increase in colostrum IgG level over the control group.

According to Rumenco technical manager David Thornton, the study results confirm Lifeline’s ability to enhance colostrum quality.

“Trial work at SAC has already shown the ability of Lifeline to boost ewe colostrum quality, but now we have comparable data for suckler cows,” he said.

In the study, two groups of 40 spring calving Stabiliser cows of equal body condition score were fed a ration of restricted grass silage and straw. One group of 40 was fed Lifeline Pre-calver buckets from eight weeks pre-calving, the other 40 a control supplement minus the Lifeline pack. The intake of both bucket supplements averaged 200g per day.

“Whilst there were no differences in calving ease or the vigour of the calves – but Stabilisers are renowned for these traits anyway – the Lifeline-fed cows recorded better colostrum quality, as measured by IgG level,” David Thornton said.

On the back of the trial James Evans is now feeding Lifeline to both his autumn and spring calving suckler herds, as well as his ewes. “We never have to suckle a calf and they are on their feet in minutes, and now I also know they are getting optimum colostrum,” he said.

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