LifeStart is a science-based program that focuses on the critical first months of a dairy calf’s life

In the future, to feed the ever-increasing world population in a sustainable way, we need to utilise the full potential of each production animal. For dairy cows, this means increasing their performance per day of life. To increase the average lifetime daily production you need to:

  • Reduce the age at first calving

  • Increase the cow milk production per lactation

  • Increase the number of lactations per cow

LifeStart is a science-based platform for dairy calves that deals with the critical first months of a dairy calf’s life. LifeStart research has shown that metabolic programming during the first weeks of life has a big impact on organ development, leading to a more robust cow with an increased performance later in life.

LifeStart Pillars

Colostrum Management
Weaning Strategies
Calf to heifer

LifeStart Themes

Metabolic Programming
Glucose metabolism
Role of fat in calf nutrition
Lactobalance, hydration, and osmoregulation
Most LifeStart science articles on this site relate to a particular stage of the life of a calf or dairy cow. However, some general themes are not related to a particular stage of life. For a full understanding of LifeStart science, please review the information related to the 4 themes above:

The benefits of following LifeStart calf feeding schedules.

Trouw Nutrition has carried out research comparing LifeStart calf feeding schedules with elevated planes of nutrition to more traditional calf feeding schedules. Trials show that by applying LifeStart scientific principles and feeding schedules during the first 70 days of a dairy calf’s life, calf nutrition improves and farmers benefit from:

Higher average daily weight gain
Earlier breeding
Better udder development
Higher milk production
A lower culling rate during 1st and 2nd lactation

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Trouw Nutrition is dedicated to optimize calf rearing principles by developing science based solutions that will enable dairy farmers to produce in a more sustainable way. Together with our global network of scientific institutes, we share solutions to deal with common challenges of the dairy industry.

In 2014 Trouw Nutrition initiated the Kempenshof LifeStart trial in which calves are monitored from birth until the end of their productive life. This trial still continues today.

Our team will share their latest findings and results as well as other important information related to calf rearing from around the world.




Latest LifeStart studies

Colostrum Management
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Relation between colostrum characteristics and colostrum quality measured with a Brix refractometer
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Calves included in the Kempenshof trial had an improved growth as a result of a LifeStart feeding schedule
Weaning strategies
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Gradual weaning improves the growth of dairy calves
Calf to heifer
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A LifeStart calf feeding schedule in dairy calves reduces the age at first pregnancy and first calving