Monday, January 28, 2019

Beware of Cold Milk Replacer Powder!

Back in November, 2018, we had a local "cold snap." The outdoor temperatures dropped around 20F and just stayed there for over a week with little change during daytime hours. Now in January it was 0F when I left the house this morning. Cold is here to stay for a while.

Let's assume you observe milk replacer mixing on a dairy. The calf care person leaves the warm utility room and comes back with a 50 pound (22.7kg) bag of milk replacer powder. She proceeds to open the bag and scoop about two-thirds of it into the mixing barrel that was about one-third full of warm water.

She blends the powder and adds enough water to fill the 30 gallon (114L) barrel. Without using a thermometer it would be easy for you to feel that the mix does not feel warm enough (should be at least 105F) to feed calves on a cold day. Using a thermometer you might discover that the mix to be about 95F.

She had followed her "usual" mixing procedures that result in 105F mix. What happened that caused the mix temperature to be only 95F?

The milk replacer powder was stored in a cold shed, think well below freezing. The cold powder dropped the usual mix temperature about 10F.

The lesson here is test, don't guess. Beware of cold milk replacer powder during winter months - extra caution may be needed to have our mix at correct feeding temperature.

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