SPRAYFO CALF STARTER

A calf starter with high planes of nutrition results in excellent ROI

SPRAYFO CALF STARTER

A calf starter with high planes of nutrition results in excellent ROI

3 important reasons why you should consider calf starter

During the first weeks of life calves depend on the milk they receive. Next to milk it is crucial that calves start to consume dry feed as soon as possible. This is necessary to learn them to eat it but also to let their digestive system get used to solid feed.

The first reason to feed calf starter is rumen development. In the period between 1 week and reaching the age of 6 months, the rumen size of a Holstein dairy calf should have increased about 20 fold. This means that the ration should not only support calf growth, but also calf rumen development in early stages of life. An excellent quality calf starter, provided ad libitum, will increase growth but also result in good rumen development.

The second important reason is to avoid a weaning dip. Calves should not be weaned if they do not consume at least 1.5 kg of starter feed per day. To reach this level, calf starter should be made available from 2 weeks of age onwards. Be aware that water should be always available, because it is needed to digest the dry calf starter feed. For every kg of calf starter, the calf needs to drink about 4 litres of water.

Last, but certainly not the least important reason, is that dairy calves utilize nutrients (from milk and dry feed) extremely efficient while they are young. This increased feed efficiency is valid up to 4 months of age. This means that in young dairy calves, feeding schedules with high planes of nutrition result in an excellent return on investment. A high average daily weight gain in the period before and after weaning results in an earlier age at first breeding, a significant increase in average daily life time production and a reduced culling rate in first and second lactation.