New research conducted by Penn State University and Provimi North America shows that calves fed a 26 percent protein milk replacer powder at 2.2 pounds daily had less rumen development pre-weaning at 5 weeks of age than calves fed the same milk replacer at 1.5 pounds daily. Rumen papillae length and width, weight of the rumen, and starter intake were less in calves fed the high amount of milk replacer.
Greater rumen development at weaning insures a smoother transition to dry feeds. Less rumen development and starter intake with milk replacer powder intakes of approximately 2 pounds daily are consistent with research in Spain published a few years ago. Additionally, previous research has shown that weaned calves fed more than 1.5 pounds of milk replacer powder had lower digestion of starter and lower body weight gains.