In respect to the dairy industry it seems to be important to improve the health status of the calf, to improve the longevity of the dairy cow, to improve the efficiency of dairy production. And one extremely simple tool is to invest more effort; to invest more milk, for example, in the feeding of calves, because it could be demonstrated that the feeding intensity, that the colostrum supply (these are two sides of the same level) have a huge impact on subsequent performance of the dairy cow in her later life. In the future, I could imagine the farmers will see, will notice, the importance of these factors of the first weeks of life for the future of the animal.
Fernando Soberon made the 2nd presentation during this afternoon, he had a very nice expression for that. He showed a slide of a calf and said this is not a calf, it is a little cow, and that is exactly the point. We should consider that the calf, a healthy calf, a rapidly growing calf, is a precondition for a healthy, fertile cow with a high production.
And this is up to now not in the focus of the farmers. At present they just want to have calves which survive the first four weeks and they think that compensatory growth in later production periods will be sufficient to achieve a good cow. However, all these new results from experimental studies conducted with rodents on the one hand, but also with food animals on the other, they clearly demonstrate that the first four, six, eight weeks of life of a calf have a tremendous importance. And, what you lose there, what you make wrong in that specific, sensitive period, cannot be restored by other tools later on.