Some farmers use 500g/calf/day of CMR whilst other farmers use 1000g/calf/day. They both want to raise healthy calves that will become productive in around 2 year’s time – so why the different approach?
Q1: Calf Milk Replacer (CMR) is probably one of the most expensive inputs for calves on a farm – so why do some farmers choose to spend twice as much as others?
- Improved, earlier nutrition = greater calf growth, development and health.
- Farmers want to maximise calf performance, recognising that this has a great influence on lifetime milk production, health and longevity.
Q2: If some farmers choose to offer 1000g of CMR to boost calf development, why don’t they offer even more?
- It’s difficult for calves to consume more than 1000g of milk per day as the abomasum has a finite capacity. Overfeeding with liquid milk also reduces appetite and solid feed intake
- Feeding excess CMR can also increase the risk of nutritional scours / diarrhoeas. A scouring calf experiences poor growth, and could incur expensive veterinary interventions – both of which are to be avoided.
Q3: So if farmers do want to increase lactose and milk intakes to accelerate calf development further, but have maximised CMR inputs, how else could they do it?
Once you have optimised and maximised your CMR program, offering a calf Axcelera-C to calves is a proven way of optimising your calf development. It is offered ad-lib from 4 days of age for 4 weeks and then blended with the starter until weaning.
More milk – but as a solid pellet
- It’s an easy way of providing even more lactose and milk protein into the calf.
- It is proven to reduce the incidence and severity of nutritional scours
- There no mixing, heating of milk or liquid handling required.
Because it’s a solid – it goes directly into the rumen
- Aggressive, early intakes from day 4 help to stimulate earlier rumen development than using a starter feed.
- Axcelera-C is a highly digestible, lactose-rich accelerator that calves can digest far better than a starter feed. Young calves have an abundance of the enzyme lactase for digesting lactose – so why offer them a starch or fibre-rich starter feed that they will ‘play with’ and be unable to digest in first weeks of life?
- Calves are at their most efficient when youngest, making it more efficient to offer the highest quality nutrition that they can convert into tissue growth. This makes maximising growth rate at this stage more cost effective, even if kg for kg the feed cost is higher than later in the rearing period.
By providing more energy, earlier to the calf, farmers are experiencing numerous benefits in addition to the accelerated calf development.
Each farm situation will have its own limiting factors around calf development and the opportunity of empowering the calf with more available energy and a faster developing rumen means that it is equipped to overcome a range of limiting challenges.
Having started to offer Axcelera-C, dairy farmers and calf rearers are seeing numerous benefits on-farm:
- Reduced incidence and severity of scouring
- Enables earlier weaning age
- Reduced mortality
- Reduction in health challenges – fewer injections
- Accelerated growth and reduced check at weaning