3rd LifeStart Calf Symposium Will Spotlight Holistic Approach to Nurturing Tomorrow’s Herds and Highlight Discovery Transforming Calf Nutrition


Nottingham, England – 28 Sept. 2023 – Trouw Nutrition, the livestock feed business of Nutreco, and the University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science are convening scientists, producers, nutritionists and veterinarians from around the globe to share emerging research and novel discoveries that will nurture the future of tomorrow’s dairy herds. Expanding on the ruminant science and practical application shared at two prior symposiums, the 3rd LifeStart Calf Symposium will be held 17-18 October at the East Midlands Conference Centre. Presenters include several of the world’s most renowned authorities on calf nutrition, development, animal behaviour and farm management. A highlight of the symposium will be the unveiling of a discovery that offers the potential to transform a longstanding practice in calf nutrition.

LifeStart Calf Symposium

The event agenda includes optional on-farm workshops along with remarks from experts in calf development and management. Sessions will cover farm case studies, emerging insights into the optimal environmental conditions for calf rearing, and strategies for reducing risks on the farm. The application of precision nutrition to enhance calf rearing success will set the stage for a major technology announcement.

Transformative technology debuts

The 3rd LifeStart Calf Symposium will unveil a novel technology inspired by the discovery of how fat composition in milk provides natural metabolic signals to prepare the calf’s rumen and intestinal tract for starter feed. Scientists identified specific signals that play a role in avoiding digestive challenges such as acidosis, scouring and the weaning slump. Affecting more than 18% of dairy replacement calves, digestive disorders are a major cause of illness leading to problems with early life development as well as health and performance problems later in life.

Milk plays a communication role beyond its great nutritional value
Javier Martin-Tereso, PhD, manager of the ruminant team at Trouw Nutrition Research Development

“Milk plays a communication role beyond its great nutritional value,” said Javier Martin-Tereso, PhD, manager of the ruminant team at Trouw Nutrition Research Development. “It brings signals from the mother that guide the calf’s development. Expanding our understanding of this signalling role provided a blueprint for replicating this activity and led to a technology that will shift how calves are fed in the future, benefitting not only their performance but their health.” Research leading to the new discovery was primarily conducted at Trouw Nutrition’s Calf and Beef Research Facility located near Boxmeer, the Netherlands, with collaboration from academic partners.  

Considering calf development, management and economics

The 13 speakers at the Symposium include scientists and researchers from the University of Nottingham, University of Birmingham, University of Guelph, University of British Columbia, University of Vermont, and University of Florida. Speakers’ presentations will blend science with experiential learning. Delegates can participate in a University of Nottingham research farm tour or attend a workshop led by Dr. Ginny Sherwin and Dr. Victoria Rhodes that shares a practical on farm approach to BRD detection and prevention. Sessions will be organized into three tracts: Calf Development and Performance; Calf Behaviour and Management; and Sustainability, Economics and Practical application.

“The 3rd LifeStart Calf Symposium will synch new discoveries and emerging insights with the real-world challenges experienced on farms around the globe,” said JJ Degan, global manager ruminants at Trouw Nutrition. More information on the conference and registration details are available here.

LifeStart is a science-based platform for dairy calves designed to improve lifetime performance targeting the first months of life. LifeStart research has demonstrated that metabolic programming during the first weeks of life can have a big effect on organ development, leading to a more robust cow and increased performance later in life.