We visited some farms in the last number of years to examine calves that were near weaning or weaned but were scouring and losing weight. These calves were suffering from ‘’Summer Scour syndrome’’ or ‘’calf to grass syndrome’’. These calves had to be taken off grass and put back on milk and a fibre source.

Summer scour in calves is a relatively new phenomenon, where calves start to scour profusely, become dehydrated and lose weight rapidly a few weeks after turnout to grass. Calves are selective grazers which means they only eat the tip of the grass plant, this tip is full of
sugar and nitrogen while being low in fibre.

It is more commonly seen in calves turned out to have excellent quality nitrogen (N)-rich grass. It is believed that an excessive intake of N (calves tend to browse from the top of the leaf, where non-protein N is concentrated) leads to ammonia toxicity and the resulting scouring and wasting in the calves. Those fed on older, more fibrous grass rarely suffer from the condition.

  • NOW is the time to prevent this from happening this year, feeding a product like Rumenito or Equaliser 365 pellet with your calf ration daily, can aid in the prevention of summer scour syndrome.
  • Feeding a source of fibre at grass can also help in preventing acidosis and summer scour syndrome.
  • This can also be complicated by Coccidiosis which can be easily diagnosed by taking a Faecal sample.