Evaluation of growth performance and NRC Nutrient Requirements for liquid fed Holstein calves under South African conditions

Author: S.M. Grobler and L.J. Erasmus
Year: 2008
Issue: 1
Volume: 1
Page: 16 - 24

Twenty four Holstein heifer calves were used in a completely randomized block design, and fed either 2 L of full milk (FMS) or experimental milk replacer (EMSS) twice daily with ad lib access to a commercial calf starter. The purpose of the study was to obtain growth data on the experimental milk replacer and compare that to growth data from milk fed calves. Body weight and skeletal development were measured weekly and faecal consistency was subjectively scored daily. Starter intake was 0.30 kg/d and 0.34 kg/d respectively at 35 days of age and 1.11 kg/d and 1.10 kg/d for FMS and EMSS calves respectively at 56 days. Body weight decreased from birth up to week two after birth. Body weight increased from week two onwards as age increased. The ADG for the 56-day experiment were 370 g/day for both FMS and EMSS. Based on literature studies where a milk replacer similar to EMSS was compared to full milk, one would have expected calves receiving full milk to have a higher ADG than the calves receiving milk replacer. However calves were housed in a relatively cold environment with very little shelter and Cryptosporiduim spp. was isolated in some of the calves. This probably impacted on the results. The growth prediction with the NRC showed that the NRC growth predictions are in agreement from week 6 onwards with the current study‘s growth results, and can be used with confidence by South African producers

Keywords: full milk, growth, Holstein calves, milk replacer, NRC
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