Abstract #M150

# M150
Bringing research to the farm: How producers adopted new practices following an on-farm calf management workshop.
Debora E. Santschi*1, Steve Adam1, Daniel M. Lefebvre1, 1Valacta, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada.

Finding effective ways to translate knowledge from the latest research into applicable concepts on farm is a continuous challenge for the dairy industry. Valacta held a series of workshops on young calf feeding and management practices in Quebec, Canada, from November 2016 to March 2017. A total of 1,398 producers attended one of the 127 sessions offered. Topics addressed covered mainly the pre-weaning period and focused on colostrum (importance in terms of nutrients, IgG content, management, timing of first feeding), milk feeding (type and quality of milk replacers, feeding levels, proper mixing of milk replacer), solid feeds (forages, concentrates, types and amounts), weaning (protocol and timing), and growth monitoring. In a discussion format, producers were invited to compare and challenge current feeding and management practices for young calves. Producers were also asked to bring a colostrum sample as well as a sample of reconstituted milk replacer to learn how these can be assessed quickly on farm and to generate discussion around the results. Between 2 and 3 mo after their participation in the workshop, producers were sent a survey to evaluate adoption of best practices covered in the workshop. Producers were asked if they used the suggested management practice already before the workshop (Before), since the workshop (After), or not at all (No). Table 1 presents results of the 199 workshop participants who answered the survey. Testing colostrum for quality and daily milk feeding practices were the ones where the workshop had the greatest impact. The importance of growth monitoring still needs to be reinforced. Table 1. Survey responses
Management practiceYes: Before (%)Yes: After (%)No (%)
Test colostrum with refractometer67228
Feed colostrum within 1h of birth66928
Feed a second meal of colostrum235642
Keep a bank of frozen colostrum376335
Thaw colostrum at 40°C165025
Ensure adequate quality of milk replacer63789
Weigh amount of milk replacer265423
Verify mixing temperature215043
Reconstitute milk replacer at 150 g/L37319
Verify milk final temperature214843
Rapidly increase to at least 8 L/d milk568611
Wean gradually when calf eats 2 kg/d627918
Monitor growth at 2, 6 and 13 mo213364
Breed at target BW697817

Key Words: calf management, producer workshop, knowledge transfer