As the colder winter weather starts to bite, heifer calf
rearers need to review milk replacer feeding concentrations
to preserve optimum growth rates.
To preserve optimum calf growth rates, review milk replacer mixing rates during cold weather.
Trouw Nutrition says it is easier to hit growth targets
in the summer because 20°C is the thermo-neutral temperature
for calf rearing. But as the ambient temperature drops
in the winter, the calf needs additional energy to keep
warm and to maintain target growth rates, which will fall
unless milk powder concentrations are increased. Plans
to calve heifers at two years of age can certainly be compromised
unless cold weather action is taken.
To illustrate the potential drop in growth rate during colder conditions, the
company has developed a new calf growth computer model. The Nutri-Calf program
also helps producers evaluate the cost-effectiveness of different winter milk
replacer and follow-on feeding regimes.
“Most calf rearers mix replacer with water at a year-round constant rate
of 125g/litre,” explains Trouw Nutrition technical manager John Twigge. “This
rate is fine for most of the year, but during colder conditions growth rates
fall below target levels. In order to address the problem, Nutri-Calf shows that
milk powder concentrations need to rise to 150g/litre during most winter months
and as much as 180g/litre when there is a severe cold period.
“Milkivit Denkamilk milk replacers are high energy, highly digestible products – but
even these high quality milks require an increased powder concentration if growth
targets are to be maintained for replacement heifer calves on an accelerated
John Twigge points out that for a heifer to calve and enter the milking herd
at 24 months of age, a high level of growth during the pre-weaning milk feeding
stage is crucial.
“Accelerating growth in the first six weeks of life is very important – later
on it is more difficult, as boosting growth rates at this stage can impair udder
development,” he maintains.
Further information on the Nutri-Calf model is available from John Twigge on
01606 561287 or by calling the Trouw Nutrition customer services team on 0845
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