At the end of 2019, the last heifer calf was born that takes part in the COMKalf project. "A year later, the first heifers returned to Dairy Campus after a stay at the rearing farm. These heifers are about to give birth to their first calf.
Within the COMKALF project: "Tailor-made conception for optimal calf development", the growth, health and development of these heifer calves are monitored from fertilization up to and including their first lactation. The calves within COMKALF originated from the fertilization of cows within the 'Customized Lactation' project. There are 58 in total (there were 59, one has died). The last heifer calves of the group are expected to return at the beginning of 2022, just before they calve.
Within this project, cows were randomly distributed over different waiting times for first insemination after calving: 50, 125 or 200 days. This means that the cows had a very different metabolic status around fertilization. The mother's metabolism is expected to affect her calf around conception, possibly during both early and later life.
As soon as the heifers come into milk themselves within COMKALF, they are monitored in terms of production and milk composition during the first 100 days of their first lactation. Data collection from this long-term project is expected to continue into 2022.
It is expected that this research will provide new insights into the development of calves. This can contribute to the optimization of the insemination moment of dairy cows and to the further improvement of young stock rearing. COMKALF is financed by the Dairy Fund and the Dairy Campus Innovation Program.