Growth studies at Massey University have shown that calves raised under the Queen of Calves programme will grow quicker, wean earlier and be bigger.
This raises the question – how?
Initial rumen studies went some way to answering this question when it showed the rumen in Queen of Calves reared calves to be more developed. But could there be more to it than this?
To answer this question additional research was undertaken by Massey University which looked at:
- what Queen of Calves was doing to the milk, and
- the energy provided by the programme and how this energy was being utilized.
Queen of Calves changes the clotting of milk
This research looked at the curd strength of milk with or without Queen of Calves. By adding rennet or other coagulants to the mixtures the researchers were able to produce milk clots similar to those that would be forming in the abomasum of the calves following ingestion.
The study showed that milk in the presence of Queen of Calves formed stronger clots. The implications of this are that there is greater digestion and provision of energy because of slower passage through the abomasum and hind gut.
More available energy
This study looked at the total energy provided by the Queen of Calves programme when compared to a milk-only diet. This used data from the 2007 Massey University growth trial and compared available levels of energy with the levels needed for the growth rates that were observed.
The key finding was that a Queen of Calves Nutrition Programme provides slightly more overall energy, but not enough to account for the extra growth attained. This suggests that with Queen of Calves the energy in the diet is better utilized.
The energy comes from the milk, Queen of Calves, straw and meal consumed by the calf. The hard feed is digested in the developing rumen, and the milk and Queen of Calves, as liquid, is digested in the abomasum.