Feeding 3X vs. 2X
Increased Feed Efficiency
During a talk given at the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association annual meeting in Green Bay Wisconsin on April 3, 2014 frequency of feeding was related to feed efficiency.
In very brief summary, using 70 Holstein heifer calves two groups were set up. The same feed (28-20 milk replacer) was fed to all calves. One group was fed twice a day, the other group was fed three times a day. Everything else was the same.
For the first 42 days the feed efficiency for the 3X calves was 0.61 pounds of gain per pound of dry matter intake while in contrast for the 2X calves this value was higher, 0.52.
Thus, for the approximately 110 pounds of milk replacer and calf starter grain fed to both groups in those first 42 days the 3X calves gained an extra 10 pounds.
When the calves were followed up there were trends [that is statistical-speak for not significant at the .05 level of probability) for the 3X calves to calve earlier (16 days) and projected 305ME milk at 120 days in milk was greater (1133 pounds).
One difference between 2X and 3X (this was statistically different at the 0.025 level) was the percent of animals that began the trial still milking at 120 days in milk. 2X = 80% 3X = 97% Preweaning mortality accounted for 3 of the 2X calves lost and 1 of the 3X calves. The rest (6 more) of the 2X calves managed to fall by the wayside for one reason or another between 56 days of age and 120 days in first lactation.
Well, anyway the main theme of the findings was that 3X fed calves had a higher feed efficiency than those fed 2X. Interesting stuff.