Introducing LifeStart

Researchers, veterinarians and farmers talk about the LifeStart program and its tangible benefits.

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Introducing LifeStart

Dr. Fernando Soberon, Researcher:
The whole purpose of LifeStart is to make a direct and faster link of the new research that is coming out, into actual production.

Gill Dickson, Calf Rearing Specialist:
Feeding calves really well the 1st 12 weeks pays off. And it not just pays off in the 1st 12 weeks, it goes on to pay off by getting up to puberty earlier, getting up to calving earlier, being a bigger animal when it calves down, and going on to produce an extra 800 kilos of milk in the 1st lactation.

Aagje Kramer, Dairy Veterinarian:
I think that for all dairy farmers right now, it's very important that they get good, productive, healthy cows.

Martin Benning, Dairy Farmer:
So that each surviving calf develops into a healthy dairy cow with a long, productive life span.

Alastair Hayton, Dairy Veterinarian:
We see the importance of the rearing dairy heifers as critical to future improvements in productivity and efficiency.

Soberon:
In the case of dairy cows, we're talking about how feeding and management practices actually influence the production three, four, five years down the road.

Dickson:
Because you can have a lot more influence through feeding an animal than you can by breeding.

Kramer:
A good start of those heifers is going to make a long, lasting life as a dairy cow.

Benning:
The LifeStart program helps to make sure you will only have to breed a minimum number of calves and that each calf is inseminated and gives birth at the right time to get strong, healthy heifers with a long, productive life.

Soberon:
We have enough evidence with at least seven different species to know that this is a consistent effect, so we can ask producers to take advantage of it, increasing the profitability of the animals.

Kramer:
So in that way it's easy to see that calves are healthier when you use LifeStart.

Dickson:
That's one of the nice things about my job, that you do see the payback. You do see farms improving over the years.

Hayton:
If you can get them to try it, I think you'll get them to change.

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