Using Milk Balancer with Whole Milk Feeding
In a recent research report (Glosson, K.M. and Others, "Effect of supplementing pasteurized milk balancer products to heat-treated whole milk on the growth and health of dairy calves" Journal of Dairy Science 98:1127-1135 June 2015) milk balancers were used to supplement pasteurized whole milk in an intensive milk feeding program.
The unique feature of this work was the comparison of two balancer products. Both were formulated to provide 25% crude protein and 10% fat. One product was made with all milk ingredients. The second balancer "substituted half of the milk protein with a combination of soy protein and animal plasma. It contained identical ingredients to the all-milk version with the exceptions of added soy isolate, protein modified soy flour, and animal plasma." (p1129)
Bottom line was that calves fed both versions of the balancer product had approximately the same average daily gains (that is, 1.7 pounds per day). While additional trials will add credibility to these findings, it is encouraging to learn that at least in this small trial (three groups of 24 calves) the lower-cost balancer product supported equal growth among preweaned calves in an intensive milk feeding program.