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Agronomía Mesoamericana

On-line version ISSN 2215-3608Print version ISSN 1659-1321


NEMOCON-COBOS, Ana María; ANGULO-ARIZALA, Joaquín; GALLO-MARIN, Jorge Alberto  and  MAHECHA-LEDESMA, Liliana. Feeding: a strategic factor for artificial rearing of calves from dairy farms. Agron. Mesoam [online]. 2020, vol.31, n.3, pp.790-806. ISSN 2215-3608.

Introduction. The specialized dairy systems in Colombia represent the most technified sector of the cattle production, nevertheless it has challenges with profitability and competitiveness with the market of imported dairy products, which establishes a disadvantage for local production. However, the rearing of discarded calves for meat production, can be a competitive alternative. Objective. To deepen the management of feeding in the calves rearing stage from dairy farms. Development. Artificial breeding includes the management, care, and feeding of calves until weaning and its objective is to reduce the nutritionally dependent of milk, at the lowest age possible, and to be able to incorporate solid foods into the diet. The basic diet of the calves during rearing includes the colostrum, milk or milk replacer, concentrated feed, and forage. It must be ensured colostrum quality measurement and the offer of quality colostrum, in the first hours postpartum. Milk or milk replacer should be supplied for eight weeks maximum with a tendency to decrease the period without affecting the development of the calves, offering a product of compositional and sanitary quality. The concentrate feed and the forage source can be offered from the first weeks of birth, guaranteeing quality of the diet and removing the feed scraps to avoid gastrointestinal problems. Conclusion. Rearing as a critical stage requires strategic feeding management. The supply of quality colostrum at the right time is the basis of the entire production stage. Liquid diet is essential for the physiological and enzymatic adaptation of the gastrointestinal tract, while solid diet is essential for ruminal development.

Keywords : ruminal development; dairy cattle; sustainable production; profitability; calves.

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