Main research question
The aim of the JongLeven project is to provide Flemish dairy farmers with clear tools and guidelines to work on a more economical and sustainable husbandry of young cattle. At the end of this project more dairy farmers will actively monitor the rearing of their heifers (measuring/weighing), more heifers will calve at the optimal age of 24 months and they will enjoy a healthier and longer life, thus achieving better lifelong production.
The approach in this project is a combination of research and practice. We collect knowledge about the ideal growth trajectory of young cattle, rumen development, feed requirements and protocols about hygiene and biosafety will be gained by conducting research (at ILVO & Hooibeekhoeve) and monitoring the growth of young cattle at 30 farms. Subsequently, this accumulated knowledge is applied to sevaral farms to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of these changes. In addition, we plan seminars, hands-on workshops and discussion groups to promote and deepen interaction with the farmer.
A virtual Knowledge Center for Young Cattle is planned. Farmers can turn to this Knowledge Center for all relevant practical information about rearing young cattle. Knowledge acquired within the project and relevant international literature are made accessible. In addition, hands-on workshops and discussion groups are organized to share the results with the livestock farmers.