Getting the Most Out of Herd Milk Replacers

Article contributed by: Drew A. Vermeire, Ph.D., PAS, Dipl. ACAN, NRV Consulting Nutritionist Our milk replacers are formulated, tested, and produced with the goal of maximizing calf performance. Once a milk replacer has been produced in NRV’s state-of-the-art plant, it still needs to be mixed properly and fed properly to maximize calf performance. That’s where you come in! Mix It Up Right… Properly mixed milk replacer is a creamy liquid, that calves readily consume and use for growth. It stays in suspension, leaves little or no residue on mixing or feeding equipment, and provides calves with an excellent source of nutrition. Whether you are mixing in a stainless steel power mixer or in a 5 gallon bucket, is just as easy to mix properly as to mix improperly. This article was developed to help you mix milk replacer properly to maximize calf performance. MIXING AND FEEDING DIRECTIONS 1. Add 60-65% of required hot water to mixer. Water temperature should be 135-150o F. 2. If using a power mixer, turn on the mixer. If mixing by hand with a wire whisk, stir the water to get it circulating in the pail. 3. Weigh proper amount of milk replacer powder and sprinkle into hot water while agitating the water. 4. Check water temperature after all milk replacer powder has been added. It should be 125-135o F after all powder has been added. 5. Mix for 2-5 minutes. Remember that all fat emulsification occurs on your farm – not in a milk replacer plant. Mixing for 2-5 minutes ensures that fats are properly emulsified. 6. Add additional water needed to meet the required  volume and adjust temperature to 115-120o F. 7. Fill calf bottles and...

Feeding strategies are key to expanding your dairy with dairy beef profitably

There are a few factors to think about before deciding whether to pursue adding a dairy beef expansion to an already existing dairy operation. For instance, is there enough feed to properly finish out the steers that will meet their nutritional needs? Is there enough space on the farm to contain the dairy steers in a biosecure environment? Is it economically possible for the producer to wait for their income towards the end of cycle, while finishing out steers for 14 to 18 months? Dairy producers get their income from the milk they produce, the cull cows and the calves they sell. However, there is a whole other market that is growing in popularity each year. Dairymen will finish out the dairy steers at market-ready weight and are then able to sell them for a much higher value. This increases their income without spending extra money on milking cows. The farmers are investing in the dairy calves that they already own and are receiving a larger lump sum for them. Dairy beef steers have a few nutritional differences compared to beef cattle. Therefore, dairy farmers should consider using a different feeding system for dairy steers that is more cost effective and feed efficient. High Plains System:  One option is the High Plains system that takes light-weight calves and feeds them a single high-concentrate diet of 85-92% all the way up to processing. Two-phase System:  Another type of feeding is the two-phase system, which uses a high roughage diet that utilize pasture, corn silage, or haylage in the first phase, then switched to a 70-90% concentrate diet in the last phase. This...