"Unlock your herd’s potential” dairy conference - Dr. Leonel Leal

Friday, 1 November, 2019

One of the Keynote Speakers at the CAFRE, Dairy UK and the UFU Dairy Conference “Unlock your herd’s potential” will be Dr. Leonel Leal, Ruminant Researcher at Trouw Nutrition R & D Netherlands.

Leonel graduated in Animal Science from University of Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD) in Vila Real (Portugal) in 2010. He joined Nutreco in 2011 as a researcher within the Research & Development team and obtained his PhD in a joint project between Nutreco and Wageningen University.

His research mainly focused on ruminant physiology and efficiency in beef and dairy animals, and also on functional nutrition of calves. Beyond research, he also provided nutritional consulting for feed companies in Europe, North and South America.

His curriculum vitae include scientific and technical publications, co-supervisions of master and PhD students, participations in scientific and professional international conferences. Currently Leonel is leading the calf research team and the LifeStart science platform within Trouw Nutrition R&D. In this role he is no stranger, always a willing host for local farmer trips to the Netherlands.

At the “Unlock your herd’s potential” conference he will explain how increasing the plane of nutrition for calves on milk during the first two months of life reduces the age at first calving and increases lifetime yield in dairy cows.

Known as metabolic programming, the idea is that early life events can have an impact on later physiological outcomes. It's a dynamic process and the effects are dependent upon a specific, critical window of opportunity.

In calves this critical period is before weaning and starts with adequate colostrum at birth. Dr Leal describes colostrum as “liquid gold”, and says the “first feed is the most important meal in a cow’s lifetime”. He recommends a 4 litre first feed, followed ten hours later with a secondary 2 litre feed of a high BRIX score colostrum.

He says the natural state for calves is to take in 2 litres of milk, 7 times per day, it makes sense that restoring their intakes closer to their natural state should also have a big a positive impact.

Conference delegates will get the chance to hear about the studies with calves fed the traditional versus calves fed an elevated level of milk replacer per day and the positive results emerged simply as a result of how calves are fed in the first two months of life.

“Unlock your herd’s potential” is a conference for Dairy farmers organised by CAFRE, Dairy UK and the UFU.  Conference dates Tuesday 19th November, Greenmount Campus and Wednesday 20th November, Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh.  Tickets cost £20 (booked before 8th Nov). Further details www.ufuni.org/events

 Dr. Leonel Leal, Ruminant Researcher at Trouw Nutrition R & D Netherlands.