Source: Beef Farmers of Ontario
In the cow-calf industry, minimizing calf morbidity and mortality is key to maximizing growth and performance of the calf crop until weaning. Ensuring each calf receives an adequate dose of high quality colostrum greatly reduces the morbidity of the neonatal calf with lasting impacts positive health impact into the feedlot. Methionine is an essential amino acid known to play an important role in protein synthesis, oxidative stress, and a variety of metabolic pathways. Methionine is known to be the first limiting amino acid in forage fed beef cows, and therefore it is likely that providing an additional dietary source may be beneficial for the cow. However, it is not clear if supplemental methionine will elicit a positive response on colostrum quality. During late gestation, amino acid and protein requirements increase in order to support growth and developemtn of the fetus. However, if nutrients are limiting during this time, impacts may be seen on maternal muscle degredation, and possible further impacts on colostrum production and fetal growth. Therefore understanding the role of pre-partum protein supplementation and the role of methionine may have positive implications for improving passive transfer of immunoglobulins to the calf, with lasting implications for overall calf health and performance.
Therefore, the objectives of this experiment are to evaluate colostrum quality and passive transfer using a vaccine challenge model in beef cows fed varying dietary crude protein levels pre-partum with or without supplemental rumen-protected methionine.
Completion Date: 2018