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Effects of a Bacillus-based direct-fed microbial on high- and low-health calf herds.

S. R. Fensterseifer

Abstract:

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Effects of a Bacillus-based direct-fed microbial on high- and low-health calf herds.
S. R. Fensterseifer*1, R. P. Arias1, C. M. Peter1, D. Haag1, A. M. Lange2, E. A. Galbraith2. 1United Animal Health Inc Sheridan, IN, 2Microbial Discovery Group Franklin, WI.

Our objectives were to evaluate the effects of a Bacillus-based direct-fed microbial designed for calves (DFM, 1.84 � 109 cfu/hd/d, United Animal Health, Sheridan, IN) in commercial dairy herds with historical records of high- (<3% mortality; < 3% scours) and low-heath (>5% mortality; > 5% scours). In Exp. 1, newborn calves received 1 gallon of colostrum within 2h after birth and were transferred to the calf barn. On d 5, calves were moved to group pens where they remained until weaning (d60). Calves received whole milk with (DFM, n = 104) or without any supplement (Control, n = 115) through an automatic calf feeding system (H&L 100, Hold & Laue, Germany). Daily milk intake (DMI) and BWs were recorded individually by the Calf Guide software. Medical cases and treatments (health events) were recorded for each calf and analyzed using PROC GLIMMIX with the main effect of treatment and random effect of pen. Average daily gain (ADG), weight gain (WG) and DMI were analyzed using PROC MIXED of SAS with treatment � pen as main effects. ADG (0.62 � 0.02 vs. 0.45 � 0.02 kg) and WG from birth to weaning (36.9 � 1.24 vs. 27.1 � 1.24 kg) were higher (P < 0.0001) in calves that received DFM compared with Control calves, respectively. DMI and health events did not differ (P > 0.05) between treatments. In Exp. 2, newborn calves received colostrum and were transferred to individual hutches. Calves received milk replacer 28/10 with (DFM, n = 236) or without any supplement (Control, n = 212) until weaning (60—90 d old). Health events were recorded individually for each calf and were analyzed using PROC GLIMMIX with the main effect of treatment, and calf ID as random effect. Supplementation of the DFM from birth to weaning resulted in a 10.3% decrease (P = 0.0494) in health events (DFM 44.9% vs. Control 55.2%). Digestive (scours with or without blood and constipation) cases (P = 0.0639) and percent of treated calves (P = 0.1443) tended to decrease with the supplementation of the DFM (33.5% vs. 42.9%, and 44.5% vs. 51.9% for DFM vs. Control, respectively). Supplementation of a Bacillus-based DFM to calves from birth to weaning increased performance and decreased health events.

Keywords: direct-fed microbial (DFM), calf, performance.