A new Calf Note (#173) has been posted at Calf Notes.com.
In previous Calf Notes (#170, #172), Dr. Jim Quigley proposed the idea that subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA) is prevalent in young calves during the rumen development process and this phenomenon reduces fiber digestion, increases risk of diarrhea, and possibly, contributes to increased risk of health problems. He also suggested that physical form of the diet and choice of ingredients in starters and exclusion of forage might contribute to SARA.
The new Calf Note looks in depth at research to determine effects of form of ration (pelleted vs. mash) and amount of fiber (low, high) on rumen development and incidence of rumen acidosis.
"Producers can improve the digestive efficiency of calves fed highly fermentable starters by ensuring regular consumption throughout the day (i.e., make sure feed is always available), providing an adequate supply of free water, sufficient bunk space (if calves are housed in groups), and ensuring that calves have sufficient passive immunity to avoid disease and get off to a good start," Quigley says.
For more information, read Calf Note #173 "Effects of rumen acidosis on digestion in calves."
A future Calf Note will evaluate the role of feed additives to minimize the effects of SARA in calves.