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Effects of feeding level and protein content of milk replacer on the performance of dairy herd replacements

  • S. J. Morrison (a1), H. C. F. Wicks (a1), R. J. Fallon (a2), J. Twigge (a3), L. E. R. Dawson (a1), A. R. G. Wylie (a4) and A. F. Carson (a1)...

Abstract

It has been suggested that United Kingdom recommendations for feeding the neonatal calf (∼500 g milk replacer (MR)/day; ∼200–230 g CP/kg milk powder) are inadequate to sustain optimal growth rates in early life. The current study was undertaken with 153 high genetic merit, male and female Holstein-Friesian calves (PIN2000 = £48) born between September and March, with heifers reared and bred to calve at 24 months of age. Calves were allocated to one of four pre-weaning dietary treatments arranged in a 2 MR feeding level (5 v. 10 l/day) × 2 MR protein content (210 v. 270 g CP/kg dry matter (DM)) factorial design. MR was reconstituted at a rate of 120 g/l of water, throughout, and was offered via computerised automated milk feeders. Calves were introduced to pre-weaning diets at 5 days of age and weaned at day 56. During the first 56 days of life, calves offered 10 l MR/day had significantly higher liveweight gains (P < 0.001) than calves fed 5 l MR/day. No significant differences in liveweight gain were found between calves fed 210 g CP/kg DM MR and those fed 270 g CP/kg DM MR from birth to day 56. Differences in live weight and body size due to feeding level disappeared by day 90. Neither MR feeding level nor MR CP content affected age at first service or age at successful service, and with no milk production effects, the results indicate no post-weaning benefits of increased nutrition during the milk-feeding period in dairy heifers.

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Keywords

Effects of feeding level and protein content of milk replacer on the performance of dairy herd replacements

  • S. J. Morrison (a1), H. C. F. Wicks (a1), R. J. Fallon (a2), J. Twigge (a3), L. E. R. Dawson (a1), A. R. G. Wylie (a4) and A. F. Carson (a1)...

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