COMKALF: 'Customized conception for optimal development of the calf'

Project

COMKALF: 'Customized conception for optimal development of the calf'

Very little is known worldwide about the consequences of consciously extending lactation on the health, growth and well-being of the calf. The maternal metabolic status at the time of insemination is expected to affect the development of the embryo, vitality at birth, metabolic status and growth of the calf, and the eventual performance of the offspring as a dairy cow.

The COMKALF project focuses on monitoring the heifer calves that will be born from cows with a large variation in calving interval (based on the current project ‘Lactatie op Maat’). This knowledge contributes to optimization of the insemination moment and the rearing of young cattle, and is important in the further development of dairy farms in the area of sustainability (nutrient efficiency, animal health and longevity). With this information, the dairy farmer can achieve further improvements in the health and growth of the young stock, aimed at a healthy long-lived livestock.

Expected results

  • Knowledge about the consequences of consciously extending lactation for the calf in her early life (growth, health) and also in her adult life (production, health).

  • Information about the relationship between the cow's metabolic status at the time of conception and the calf's metabolic status and growth.

  • Information for an extension of the decision model for the optimal lactation length based on individual cow characteristics, which is developed within ‘Lactatie op Maat’.

With this information, the dairy farmer can achieve further improvements in the health and growth of the young stock, aimed at a healthy long-lived livestock. This knowledge contributes to optimization of the insemination moment and the rearing of young cattle, and is important in the further development of dairy farms in the area of sustainability (nutrient efficiency, animal health and longevity).

Reporting takes place in scientific articles, professional journals and Dutch reports which are made available via the website of Wageningen University & Research, Dairy Campus and Responsible Animal Husbandry. In addition, a network group of leaders from the current ‘Lactatie op Maat’ project is involved to share the results and discuss them with livestock farmers and directly mirror practical experiences.