According to research published in the December Journal of Dairy Science, increased consumption of a high-protein milk replacer before weaning may be beneficial.

The effect of accelerated gain was measured in Holstein heifers fed milk replacer formulation to achieve low or high body weight gains. Mammary tissue was evaluated at 65 days of age. No diet effects on growth of the mammary parenchyma were detected. However, mammary fat pad mass was increased and composition altered by feeding more nutrient-rich diets. An underlying correlation between a marker of mammary stem cells and growth of the mammary parenchyma was detected. Implications for future milk production remain to be determined.

Read the abstract from the Journal of Dairy Science.