Discussion created on 03/13/2014

Calf feed

I have a 5 months old calf. I have switched feeding from calf pellets to pollard, maize germ, cotton seed cake and soya. Can someone tell me the pros and cons of this diet. I am also feeding it with corn silage.

Regards, Reuben

February 4, 2017
Milk feed increases as the body weight surges such that the calf consumes milk equivalent to 10 per cent of its own body weight. This continues for up to about week six.
Quality of milk as compared to milk replacer – milk fed to calves primarily comes from fresh and treated cows. If the supply is insufficient, salable milk is drawn from the bulk tank.
Many dairy producers don’t take adequate precautions in handling “calf” milk and it can be a source of Johne’s bacteria, E. coli, salmonella, and mycoplasma, which are health threats for calves as well as people.
February 13, 2017

At around 5 months of age calves are between 160-200kg of weight, depending on the breed type. If the rumen is well formed it is good to put it on corn silage. Pros is high energy in that meal. Cons is the energy is in the form of high oil diet, depending the form prepared. I'm not familiar with the cotton seed cake so the smartest thing would be not to comment it.I saw people were using for milking cows.
The question is what amount of the protein, energy and fiber you have in that TMR, how soya is prepared (treated or untreated, activity of urease) and for what do we breed that calve/bull, for milk production or for fattening (breed type).

On semental breed we conducted a test with feeding 32 kg of milk replacer program for 60 days and pre-starter (19% protein) and finished TMR with straw with 18 % protein. Till 100 kg of weight, we measured 965 grams of daily weight gain. Temperatures were from the -20 to 5 celsius degree. Next test will be 25 kg of MR. Developing the rumen is the most important thing we are doing till 100 kg of weight, and the best way to do that is on dry feed grass hay+ pelleted concentrate. At 180-200 kg of weight we are starting to mix is with the corn silage, straw/lucerne hay, super concentrate, mix of corn and barley.

Best regards.

Ben Helm Ben Helm
February 13, 2017

Farmers are now accelerating their rumen development with a 40% lactose pellet. For decades dairy farmers have been using 2 tools to rear their calves (liquid milk, and a starter feed (starch and fiber). Around the world, our experience with calves is the same - that even when offered a standard starch/fiber feed from day 4 - they only typically start to intake it in significant quantities after 2-3 weeks. If we are relying on solid matter intake to stimulate rumen development, then we have lost 3 weeks of rumen development time. By offering a 40% high lactose pellet that lactose-loving calves recognize as 'milk' - then their solid matter intake starters at day 4 - winning 2-3 weeks of rumen development time over a starch/fiber starter feed. This means that calves receive more energy earlier than before which they can partition for either growth and/or fuel the immune response.

Farmers are weaning earlier with Axcelera-C - and some use it more aggressively to wean at 35-40 days.

There's now a 3rd tool for accelerating calf growth and development.

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