“The more we learn about calves’ nutrient requirements, the more we confirm that we don’t feed them enough,” says Mike Van Amburgh, dairy nutritionist at Cornell University. That doesn’t mean milk replacer is bad; it means we feed it wrong. New research, completed since the 2001 dairy NRC recommendations were released, shows that in order to meet maintenance and growth needs of the calf, milk replacer must be fed at a level equivalent in calories to whole milk. The chart below summarizes the recommendations based on the rate of gain you want to achieve.

Van Amburgh and Drackley, 2005