Research into less chance of infections in calves

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Research into less chance of infections in calves 

Published on
June 4, 2020

The Hygiene project for the young calf is investigating how a farmer can keep the risk of infection - and ultimately disease - in the calf as low as possible during the first weeks of life.

The starting point for reducing infection pressure is the practical situation in which the farmer works every day. To properly visualize this, 100 dairy farms are visited by teacher researchers and students, who take measurements and take samples to make an estimate of the hygiene around the calf and to map the operational management during calving and calf rearing. Monthly sampling is carried out at five companies that are monitored for a year. In both studies a number of calves are monitored and the development and health of the calves is monitored for up to 14 days.

Sampling young calf

On Wednesday 27 May 2020, a calf at Dairy Campus of 7 to 8 days old was selected, which was sampled and scored. The aim is to obtain specific data on the amount and quantity of bacteria present in the immediate vicinity of the calf. 

During these monthly measurements, the calf boxes (clean ones and used), calf buckets, teat bottle and probe, as well as the calving barn and the milking installation for the first colostrum, are sampled or assessed. The calf is also temperature-controlled and a manure sample is taken. 

All samples are sent directly to the Animal Health Service for analysis. 

The study will run from February 2020 to March 2021.