Saturday, September 6, 2014

Dry Matter Intake Drives Growth in Calves

"Amazing conclusion," you say. Ah, but there is nothing like data to support the relationship.

In an abstract presented at the ADSA meetings, "The effects of supplementing two pasteurized milk balancer products to pasteurized whole milk on the health and growth of dairy calves" (Glosson, K.M. and Others, Dairy Science Vol 97, E-Suppl. 1 p.167) there was a comparison of feeding whole milk with or without a milk balancer product.

This 72-calf trial gave these results for calves weaned at 56 days:
Calves fed whole milk had average daily gain of 1.5 pounds.
Calves fed supplemented whole milk, ADG was 1.7 pounds.

The balancer was added to the whole milk. That raised the dry matter concentration from about 13% to a little over 15%. So when the calves receiving the supplemented milk were fed the same volume of blended milk as the other calves that were fed unsupplemented milk they received more dry matter per day.

Presto! It works. If you feed calves more dry matter they have higher average daily gains.

The same abstract provided feed efficiency data. (total gain/total dry matter intake)
The calves fed supplemented milk had slightly lower feed efficiency than calves fed whole milk but because of the small sample size the difference was not statistically significant (>.09).

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