By Rodney Dennis, Ph.D., Dairy Nutritionist/Calf Specialist
BoVantage Technology (BoVantage) was introduced into the Kent dairy calf program in 2008, based on consistent positive responses in dairy calves at the Kent Product Development Center. Those trials demonstrated better feed intake and gains, responses which were also demonstrated in Kent cattle feeding tests. When all of our data are evaluated for death loss, BoVantage demonstrates a very positive effect on mortality.
A total of ten dairy calf trials involving BoVantage have been conducted at the Kent Dairy Product Development Center (PDC). Six of those trials directly compared a control ration that did not contain BoVantage to rations that did contain BoVantage. Four of the trials had BoVantage in the test milk replacer and starter and evaluated other parameters or additives. A review of all these trials indicates a significant reduction in mortality when BoVantage was included in the test feeds.
A total of 500 calves were used in the ten trials (Table 1). Our data indicated that calves fed test products containing BoVantage had 4.2% mortality as compared to 14% mortality in calves not fed BoVantage. That’s 70% less mortality when BoVantage was fed.
Three hundred calves were used in the six trials (Table 2) where a control without BoVantage was compared to test feeds containing BoVantage. Mortality was 37% lower in calves fed BoVantage.
In the four trials (Table 3) where BoVantage was included in all test feeds while other parameters were evaluated only 0.5% mortality occurred (one death out of 200 calves).
Similar observations on mortality have also been obtained in Kent cattle starter and feedlot trials. Four trials were conducted involving a total of 1,470 head in which half were fed BoVantage and the other half did not receive BoVantage. Mortality in cattle fed BoVantage was 63.7% lower than in cattle not receiving BoVantage (Table 4).
No feed additive by itself can completely eliminate death loss in cattle. Proper nutrition and good management are always important in controlling mortality. Kent Research observations indicate that feeding properly fortified Kent products with BoVantage along with good management can have a significant impact on survival rates.