Within the project "COMKALF: Customized conception for optimal development of the calf", 59 heifer calves are followed in their development. Last week the last heifer calf was born at Dairy Campus to participate in this trial, in which she will be followed until her first lactation.
As of the end of 2018, all female offspring from the "Tailor-Made Lactation" project have been held for further research. A lot of information is available from the 'Customized Lactation' project in the field of the energy balance and metabolic status of the mothers of these heifer calves at the time they were mated. In the coming years, as much information as possible about the offspring will be collected in the daughter project COMKALF, in order to study the influence of the mother's metabolism on the development from calf to dairy cow.
Mapping calf development
From birth, the calves at Dairy Campus are weighed at various times during their development and blood is drawn to chart the calf's metabolism itself. Health problems are also accurately tracked, as are the fertility data of the heifers once they reach that age. If the animals then start to milk themselves, they are monitored for production and milk composition during the first 100 days of their first lactation.
Working on sustainable livestock
This knowledge may contribute to optimizing the insemination moment for dairy cows with a view to their future progeny, while at the same time providing knowledge about the optimal rearing of young stock. This information is in the interest of sustainable dairy farming: with this knowledge, the dairy farmer can achieve further improvements in the health and growth of young stock, aimed at a healthy, long-living herd.