Falling temperatures can compromise calf growth and health.

“At 68 degrees F, whole milk will allow (a 90-pound calf) to gain about 0.75 pound per day,” says Robert Corbett, dairy veterinarian and nutritionist in Spring City, Utah.

However, if the temperature drops to 32 degrees F, calf growth will suffer.

“Even on a whole milk program, which has a much better nutrient content than a 20:20 milk replacer, we still are going to have weight loss when we get down into freezing conditions,” Corbett said during a recent Dairy Calf & Heifer Association webinar. (Click here to view complete webinar.)

Work with a consulting nutritionist to adjust the solids content of milk/milk replacer to accommodate weather conditions and calf growth.

According to new Gold Standards III from DCHA, pre-calves should receive enough clean milk or milk replacer to meet or exceed health and growth goals defined in the Gold Standards I for Holstein calves from birth to 6 months of age.

Additional guidelines for feeding the pre-weaned calf can be found in the Gold Standards I and the Gold Standards III.

Step up calf nutrition in cold weather