There is nothing better for calves than milk. Young calves are perfectly adapted to utilising milk and produce excellent growth fed on liquid milk.
The temptation is to offer calves as much milk as they can consume up to weaning. This can produce large and robust calves. However recent research confirms that high levels of milk can suppress dry matter intake which is crucial for healthy rumen development – which can cause a growth check at weaning which ultimately reduces calf growth after weaning.
Trials show that calves grow faster when liquid milk levels are halved and are offered Axcelera-C to stimulate rumen development and early dry matter intakes.
There were 4 groups of calves:
- 12L of milk / day
- 12L of milk / day + Axcelera-C in first 4 weeks
- 6L of milk / day
- 6L of milk / day + Axcelera-C in first 4 weeks
Calves fed 6L of milk & Axcelera-C:
- Grew 16% faster by week 13
- Had over 200g ADWG greater than 12L milk calves at week 13
- Had over 50% more solid feed before weaning.
Feeding reduced milk and Axcelera-C:
- Increases solid feed intake
- Reduces the growth check at weaning
- Sustains accelerated growth rates