More milk replacer can delay rumen development

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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.

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George E. Valergakis    
Thessaloniki, GREECE  |  June, 14, 2011 at 04:09 AM

This kind of short articles do not provide useful information to readers. A lot of information is lacking and even if research is properly designed no coclusion can be reached. For example, what does "less rumen development" really means? "Less" means "not enough"? Not necessarily! What was the fat content of the replacer? What kind of starter was used and when water was first offered to calves? How long did the transition period last? A one-week transition period gives completely different results than a two-week one!!! We are not in the business of defending or opposing accelerated calf programs, we are trying to raise healthy, productive calves in the most economical way.

Megan Pierce    
June, 14, 2011 at 05:11 PM

HI George, I've emailed you two research papers from the Journal of Dairy Science that provide the additional information you seek. Thank you, Megan Pierce

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