Tess Stahl, MS Student

Biological Sciences: Agricultural Sciences - MSTess Stahl, MS Student

Dr. Peter Erickson

: Dairy Nutrition: Sodium butyrate and Monensin supplementation to postweaned dairy calves

Digestion in ruminants helps dairy calves (and cows), through the complex rumen, to use feeds in ways that help them grow faster. Helping the calf reach their correct body size efficiently can help the farmer; if you find a way to feed calves a proper diet while ensuring they are growing taller and heavier during a shorter duration of their lifetime, you can: get this heifer bred on time, have them continue this rate of growth throughout pregnancy, and get them producing milk (since milk = money).

The addition of sodium butyrate added in milk replacer fed to calves has been shown to help increase the development of the rumen, thus increasing calves body weight at a faster rate. It even has been done in older calves/heifers with the same results; specifically done here by Emily Rice (M.S. Thesis 2017), where she looked at different concentrations of sodium butyrate (SB) supplemented in the heifer’s diet on a g/kg body weight amount. Results of this indicated that as SB increased in the diet, dry matter intake was unchanged. However, overall weight gain and average daily gain increased with an increase in SB, overall showing an improvement in feed efficiency with no negative effects seen in the calves. It is because of these results that the researcher inferred SB acts in the gut of the calf producing responses like those seen when monensin is fed to cattle.

These studies have lead me to my current research: this study will look at additions of sodium butyrate and compare it to a similar product on the market called monensin. We aim to see if SB is an effective replacement for monensin for aiding in nutrient absorption through altering the rumen environment and prevention of coccidiosis.