Like nearly any food product, milk replacer will not keep indefinitely, and storage conditions can affect its quality. The experts at Grober Nutrition Inc. offer the following advice for preserving the quality of milk replacer stored on the farm:
Summer – warmer temperatures/humidity (25° C)
- High temperatures combined with high humidity can introduce moisture, forming clumps. The length of time product is stored will increase the likelihood of these clumps.
- Humidity is increased with a barn full of animals – milk replacer should ideally be stored in a dry and separate area.
- Clumps and moisture can increase risk of spoilage – fat oxidation may impact smell and taste and potentially affect the nutritive value of the product.
Fall, winter, spring – cooler temperatures (≤0° C)
Milk replacer powder that is subject to rapid temperature changes (cold to warm and vice versa) will cause condensation that may form clumps resulting in:
- Increased difficulty in breaking up clumps for measuring.
- More effort (hand mixing) needed to dissolve the powder.
- With improper mixing, this can lead to a decrease in digestibility.
Optimal Storage of milk replacer
- Observe the principles of FIFO (first in-first out).
- Do not store product in a kitchen where steam is produced and contained.
- Do not store the product in barns filled with animals generating heat and moisture.
- Do not store product near a water source (in event of leak).
- Consider pests (mouse, rats, house pets, birds, etc.)
- Minimize the number of skids piled high – maximum of two skids high to reduce compaction effects.
- Close/seal bag when not in use; product can be frozen (and re-warmed slowly) if saving for following season in the case of seasonal breeding.
- Optimal storage temperature: from 5 to 20° C, relative humidity ≤ 60percent.
Source: Calf GroFacts by Grober Nutrition Inc.
When milk replacer is stored for more than one year, there is a risk of fat oxidation and loss of vitamin activity (most notably the fat soluble vitamins A, D, and E). To avoid oxidation, product should be kept in dry conditions and reduced light exposure.