Partnering for Calf Research and Innovation: ACER Consulting & Mapleview Agri
Mapleview Agri is a family-owned animal nutrition company based in Mapleton, Ontario, specializing in the production and distribution of high-quality milk replacers for ruminant youngstock. The company is owned and operated by father and son team, Brian and Aaron Keunen.
In addition to producing milk replacer products, they also own Keunen Cattle Co., which is responsible for purchasing male dairy calves from the area and raising them to market age and weight for the veal industry. Some calves purchased from the area are destined for their research facility where Mapleview Agri’s milk replacer products are tested. Some of the research performed on their own products include the comparison in functional protein content, fat, protein etc., as well as evaluation of different feeding protocols. In addition to testing their own products, the facility has developed relationships with pharmaceutical and feed additive companies where a product can be added to milk replacers and compared to a control group. Mapleview Agri’s research and calf health team administer these milk replacer products and generate large volumes of data on calf health, growth, and performance in the growing period.
To fully investigate and understand the efficacy of these products, Mapleview Agri has routinely enlisted the help ACER Consulting. ACER’s veterinary professionals and epidemiologists advise the research team on trial protocols and how to effectively measure the outcomes of the products being used, as well as analyzing the data that is generated.
The ACER team has also utilized the skills of their Registered Veterinary Technician, Rachel for more advanced data collection. Rachel routinely collects total protein samples from the calves being enrolled into the research trials at Mapleview. This involves collecting venous blood samples from 80 ~7 day old calves at the time of their arrival at the facility. These samples are then evaluated for protein content as an indication of their overall health and the colostrum management of their source farm. It is important to ensure that calves are only sourced from reputable dairies, and that calf illness or predisposition to illness does not confound potential outcomes of the trials.
Other types of samples and/or data may be collected depending on the trial’s protocol and parameters to be monitored and observed. For example, past trials have included monitoring blood gasses, collection of fecal samples for identification of viruses, parasites, and bacteria, as well as conduction of post-mortem examinations to identify disease processes that have occurred within the group.
The research facility is uniquely positioned to offer researchers and agricultural companies access to large groups of uniformly aged, sized, and sexed calves. The facility’s team also uses excellent treatment and disease identification protocols. Their close attention to detail allows researchers to evaluate a product based on a number of different factors. This has allowed the ACER team to analyze data and provide results on a wide variety of products and protocols. ACER Consulting is proud to have formed such a close relationship with Mapleview Agri and look forward to working together to understand, inform, and influence calf health, welfare, and productivity for years to come.