Uniblock has announced that the new and improved formulation for lifeline mineral crumb pre-calver will now add even more benefits for the calf, and the cow.

Lifeline mineral crumb pre-calver is Ireland’s top selling branded pre-calver. It is patented with a specific formulation to: boost colostrum quality by 25%; produce vigorous calves at birth; and prevent metabolic disorders around calving.

It also contains immune boosting ingredients and provides the correct levels of protected minerals and vitamins.

Colostrum quantity

A common problem on farm when the cow calves is that she doesn’t produce adequate volumes of colostrum, according to Dr. Amanda Dunn, of Uniblock.

Although published data is very scarce when it comes to looking at the effect of dry cow diet on colostrum yield, it is expected that boosting metabolisable protein levels should have a positive effect on colostrum yield.

In a study conducted by Dunn et al., 2017, it was observed that dry cows fed concentrates and silage (18.7% cp) versus cows fed silage only (14.8% cp) during the eight weeks prior to calving, produced significantly greater colostrum yields.

This study also highlighted that concentrate supplementation had a significant effect on maternal serum Immunoglobulin G (IgG) – a type of antibody – concentration where cows supplemented with concentrates had significantly greater serum IgG concentrations than those fed grass silage only.

This suggested the cows own immune system was of higher status also. 

Recommendations are in place to feed the calf 10% of its own bodyweight in good quality colostrum as soon as possible after birth, but what happens when the cow only produces half the required volume?

Well, colostrum formation starts to occur at approximately five weeks prior to calving, therefore lifeline pre-calver should be introduced to dry cows no later than six to eight weeks prior to calving to achieve optimum colostrum production.

Adding a specialised rapeseed product has doubled the protein content of lifeline pre-calver to 18% protein, according to Dr. Dunn.

“Not only has it doubled the content thus intakes, it has increased the level of rumen bypass/metabolizable protein which is absorbed by the intestine which escapes degradation in the rumen; it is the protein which is available to the animal for maintenance, growth, foetal growth during gestation, and milk production,” said Dr. Dunn.


The main benefits of including this novel source of rapeseed meal (NovaPro) in lifeline pre-calver is to benefit from the increased level of rumen bypass protein level which leaves it protected from degradation in the rumen and digested much better by the animal, due to the way in which it is safely processed during manufacture.

It supplies similar levels of bypass protein as hi pro soyabean meal, said Dr. Dunn, who added:

“The advantage of bypassing the rumen, more metabolisable protein is made available to help the cow meet her amino acid requirements for milk production and components.”

Recent studies at the University of Nottingham have shown by including NovaPro in dairy cow diets it has had a positive effect on milk yield, dry matter intakes and can outperform soya protein sources. 

It also provides a much higher energy source compared to rapeseed meal as a result of retaining higher levels of rumen-friendly oil, Dr. Dunn added.

In addition, it is highly palatable and sweet smelling which should also drive intakes during this important time frame.

According to Dr. Dunn, there are many reasons for the inclusion of this novel rapeseed product in the Lifeline mineral crumb: To boost metabolisable protein intake and in turn help increase colostrum yield, improve the environmental footprint as it is a chemical free process, and drive overall performance and efficiency on farm with this alternative protein source.

Lifeline precalver mineral crumb is the most popular branded pre-calver on the market and the cost of using it for six weeks before calving is about €9-12/cow.

For more information on Lifeline or to find a stockist, click here.