Adimix in Calves

For dairy producers world-wide, the rearing of a healthy calf is one of the most fundamental and deciding factors in the successful operation of a dairy farm.
calendar icon 8 June 2016
clock icon 5 minute read


The cost of raising a calf and heifer until the first calving weighs heavily on the farm.

This cost – or better said investment – has been estimated to be close to the profit that a high producing dairy cow can generate during the first 2 lactations (EU: 60-90€ per month, US: 70-110 $/month).

Taking into account that on many modern farms the average number of lactations per cow is now close to 2.5 (and in some countries even lower), the successful rearing of a healthy replacement calf has become a crucial factor.

The health status and growth progress of the calf during the first three months has a major influence on the life time performance, and thus on the return on investment. The increase in milk production in the first and second lactation may be as much as 10 per cent for calves that have maintained a better health and growth during the first 100 – 150 days.

With these important considerations in mind, Nutriad developed a specific product for use in calf milk replacers (CMR): Adimix-Pro. The product contains sodium butyrate as principal active component; a molecule that has been shown to enhance gut development and health through the stimulation of the developing immune system.

Adimix-Pro is formulated to assure – besides maximum efficiency – improved handling and solubility characteristics. In parallel with Adimix-Pro and for continued use in calf starter diets (before and after weaning) Adimix 30C is recommended.

Adimix 30C – with its proprietary coating – makes it an ideal product to be used in dry, pelleted feed. Use of the two product simultaneously, Adimix-Pro in CMR and Adimix 30C in starter feed allows a consistent supply of the active compound sodium-butyrate in the total dry matter intake of calves as the consumption of calf starter increases.

Research conducted by Nutriad and by independent institutions has shown that the inclusion of Adimix-Pro in calf CMR alone or in combination with Adimix 30C in calf starter consistently improves health status, daily gain and feed conversion.

These trials and tests have been conducted under a wide range of environmental and management conditions, ensuring that these products provide improved health and growth of calves during the critical period of birth until 150 days of age.

The results obtained with Adimix-Pro and Adimix 30C are extremely consistent and predictable, regardless of the composition of the milk, CMR or calf starter used. The products have been tested at university–associated research institutions as well as small and large farms.

Under all the conditions tested the use of Admix-Pro and Adimix 30C (where used in calf starter) resulted invariably in significant improvements in calf health and performance.

As an example of the multiple results Fig. 1 (below) shows the effect of the inclusion of 4 kg Adimix Pro per MT of pasteurised milk on performance of calves on a large dairy farm in Hungary while table 1 shows the performance of replacement calves on a calf ranch in the US.

Fig. 1. Average daily gain of Holstein replacement calves on pasteurised milk with or without 0.4 per cent Adimix-Pro.

Average daily gain of Holstein replacement calves on pasteurized milk with or without 0.4 % Adimix-Pro

Table 1. Performance of replacement calves in Californian Calf ranch fed CMR with or without 6 per cent Adimix-Pro.

Average daily gain of Holstein replacement calves on pasteurized milk with or without 0.4 % Adimix-Pro

These results confirm the response obtained in other field trials or in research conducted at reputable research institutions such as for instance at INRA (France) and the University of Minnesota (US).

In this trial – presented at the 2013 ADSA/ASAS annual meetings by Dr Chester-Jones and colleagues – Adimix was compared to a commonly used growth promoter in the US: Rumensin. Four treatments were evaluated:

  1. MR-CS+Monensin (Control): Milk replacer (MR) and 18 per cent CP calf starter (CS) with Monensin (33mg/kg)
  2. MR+Adimix-Pro and CS + Monensin: MR with 0.6 per cent Adimix-Pro® and CS with Monensin (33mg/kg)
  3. MR and CS+ Adimix 30C: MR and CS with 1.0 per cent Adimix-30C®
  4. MR+Adimix-Pro and CS+Adimix-30C: MR with 0.6 per cent Adimix-Pro® and CS with 1.0 per cent Adimix-30C®.

Fig 2. Performance of Replacement calves receiving Adimix-Pro and Adimix-30 C or Monensin in Calf starter. Top graph: ADG before weaning at 42 days and until 56 days of age. Bottom graph: Gain to Feed ratio before weaning at 42 days and until 56 days of age.

Average daily gain of Holstein replacement calves on pasteurized milk with or without 0.4 % Adimix-Pro

Average daily gain of Holstein replacement calves on pasteurized milk with or without 0.4 % Adimix-Pro

The results of this study clearly showed that Adimix in the form of Adimix Pro (best suited for use in CMR) or Adimix 30C (more suited for use in pelleted feed) acts as a natural growth promoter and has an effect similar to that of the anti-biotic growth promoter Monensin.

It is important to notice that in all trials a noticeable improvement in health and immune status was observed. Furthermore this improvement was observed even when antibiotic growth promoters were used.

The improvement in health status – gut health as well as overall health – is considered to be a key factor in the improvement in weight gain and feed conversion.

The superior health and stress resistance of calves – especially those most vulnerable – allowed the Adimix-fed calves to convert their feed with greater efficiency. This effect is most noticeable in the smaller and more challenged calves since variation in live weight among calves decreases as calves continue to be fed Adimix.

Figure 3 shows the effect of feeding Adimix in receiving calves on a Spanish beef farm. The decrease in CV (coefficient of variance) observed on the Adimix-fed calves was mainly due to the superior growth of the lighter calves resulting in a more homogeneous group of calves; an important characteristic in all large operations.

Fig. 3. Variation in live weight of receiving calves with or without Adimix in a pelleted diet.

Average daily gain of Holstein replacement calves on pasteurized milk with or without 0.4 % Adimix-Pro

These trials, along with multiple other field observations, show the enormous potential of Adimix Pro as an effective and economical feed additive for dairy and beef farmers.

In addition to its effectiveness, all compounds in Adimix Pro are 100 per cent natural allowing the use in all types of production conditions, including organic production. Adimix-Pro can thus be considered a fully natural growth promoter.

Many of these trials have been published and references to these publications can be provided upon request.

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