A specifically formulated high protein milk replacer for excellence in raising heifer calves.
Intensive feeding programs have been a major topic for discussion and presentation over the last year. Their aim has been to maximize genetic growth potential, get heifers to breeding weight sooner and also maximize lean tissue growth (height and weight). A young animal can not be limit fed protein and energy and be successful or efficient in depositing protein as lean tissue growth. During the first two months, calves have the greatest opportunity to maximize rapid early growth. Protein in the diet can be utilized very efficiently at this age. The higher the percentage of protein of the diet (maximum 28%), the better the increase in average daily gain; with a priority on lean muscle tissue deposition over fat. The correct balance of metabolizable energy must also be provided for maintenance and daily gain. Feeding more total nutrients on a conventional program can achieve higher rates of gain, improve health and immune status.
Conventional milk replacer and whole milk heifer calf feeding programs revolved around two times per day feeding and half-gallon or 2 litres per feeding. Intensive or accelerated feeding programs revolve around feeding more total solids more often. These programs will work on a twice-daily cycle although calves fed more often (i.e.) on automatic feeders or those fed 3 to 4 times per day tend to have a better response. In reality this type of feeding program is more similar to that of the calf nursing on the cow. If the total volume of milk or milk replacer is limited, a calf will tend to consume calf starter earlier. However, this reduces the calf’s ability to utilize the milk protein portion of the diet and sacrifices growth potential. By extending the liquid feeding period to 7-8 weeks, we can achieve higher gains prior to weaning and a continued benefit post weaning. The ability of the calf or the desire by calves to consume dry feed (starter) is in direct proportion to the volume of liquid feed being offered. To help prevent the weaning stall out, reduce the volume of liquid being fed to achieve a starter intake of 700 to 1000 grams per calf per day, for 3 consecutive days prior to weaning. The calf starter ration, to compliment an intensive calf management program, needs to be highly palatable and of excellent quality. When a high protein milk replacer is being fed (i.e. 26%min.) the calf starter should be at least 22% protein to maintain optimal growth. As always the availability of clean fresh water is critical to dry matter intake and overall calf health and performance.
Although the initial cost of an intensive feeding program is higher than the conventional feeding program, it is important to determine the goals of the calf raiser and the finished economics. The true measure of an enhanced feeding program has to be measured in terms of breeding weight & height, calving age, improved milk production and overall animal development. Grober Excel calf milk replacer is part of a full management program.