Calves fed whole milk maintained their 6 percent to 7 percent body weight advantage from weaning through 600 days of age and tended to be heavier at calving than those fed milk replacer. Supplemental protein did not affect heifer growth through 600 days of age. Thirty-six heifers completed their first lactation, and those fed whole milk as calves produced 5.3 pounds per day more milk than their counterparts fed milk replacer (71.2 pounds versus 65.9 pounds per day).
Daily milk production (74.7 pounds) and 4 percent fat-corrected milk production (68.3 pounds) were highest in cows fed whole milk as calves and 2 percent supplemental protein in the heifer ration. Cows fed whole milk as calves also had greater fat and protein production than those fed milk replacer. The authors concluded that the effects of feeding whole milk were independent of the effects on skeletal growth. Whole milk fed calves also had more fat deposition, which the authors speculate may have been part of the beneficial effect to milk production in later life.
Source: Penn State Dairy Digest