Whole Milk versus Milk Replacer

Whole of Life Performance
 Numerous studies show that replacement heifer calves with higher growth rates in the first 8-10 weeks of life have significantly improved first lactation yields and fertility performance.
 Latest research from Moorepark shows significantly higher liveweight gains (+16%) for calves fed a top quality milk replacer versus whole milk.

Reduced Risk of Scour
  Whole Milk is very high quality but consistency varies in terms of temperature and composition (think of the variation between morning and evening milkings).  Inconsistency greatly increases the risk of scour
 Milk Replacer is consistent and acidified to improve digestion and decrease the risk of scour.

Earlier weaning
 Whole milk contains very high levels of fat/energy.  This delays solid feed intake, rumen development and ultimately weaning.
• A top quality milk replacer contains lower levels of fat and high levels of digestible milk proteins to encourage intake of starter rations and rumen development leading to earlier weaning.

Health
 Feeding antibiotic milk greatly increases the risk of development of resistant organisms.  At a minimum do not feed to heifers.
 Feeding whole milk greatly increases the risk of spreading disease e.g. Johne’s disease. 

Economics
Even at cash neutral the above reasons more than justify the feeding of milk replacer over whole milk.  However at present (if under quota) there is an additional ‘cash in hand’ benefit to using milk replacer:
  It takes circa 200 litres of milk to rear a calf
 Calf Milk Replacer @ 21 c/l (pallet price of Prime Elite 23)
 Whole Milk @ 34 c/l (current price including VAT)
 13 Cents @ 200 Litres = €26 Per Calf (farm under quota)

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