Technical / White Paper

Is feeding calves high levels of milk really the best way of producing lifetime performance?

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Is feeding calves high levels of milk really the best way of producing lifetime performance?

The Advanced Weaning Program:

A new way of delivering accelerated lifetime performance in dairy cows.

  • What’s the best way to accelerate pre and post weaning calf development?
  • Is there a new way that improves calf performance and saves money?
  • Progressive farmers already using the Advanced Weaning Program.

A new way of using Axcelera-C – Wean at 40 days & save money

This is the focus of a free advanced calf rearing seminar at Eurotier: “Is feeding calves high levels of milk really the best way of producing lifetime performance? Introducing The Advanced Weaning Program – A new way of delivering accelerated lifetime performance in dairy cows”: Weds 16th​ November @ 12:00. Hall 19 – Sydney Room.

A new way

Axcelera-C from AB Neo is a highly palatable high lactose (40%) pellet for accelerating calves.  On farm results show it is the link between liquid milk and starter feed, accelerating rumen development by stimulating earlier solid feeding and greater dry matter intake.

Since its launch in 2015 farmers have been using Axcelera-C successfully as part of their existing rearing programs. In a natural progression from AB Neo’s own research and commercial trials, more progressive dairy farmers are now using a new Advanced Weaning Program that equips the calf to wean at 40 days whilst at the same time accelerating pre and post weaning performance. The Advanced Weaning Program uses less liquid milk and allows farmers to save time and money whilst experiencing excellent animal performance.

On the background to the new Advanced Weaning Program, Malcolm Beaton, (AB Neo General Manager) commented, “In recent years a great deal of academic research has focussed on feeding more milk to calves compared to the classic ‘limit-feeding’ approach designed to stimulate earlier starter feed intakes. Unsurprisingly, because calves struggle to intake and then digest starter feed in the first few weeks,  if we feed a calf more milk then it grows faster.

Academic meta-analysis of first lactation performance from these faster growing calves has purported to demonstrate an increase in milk yield which is attributed to these growth rates. However, very often in the practical application of a Higher Plane of Nutrition program, farmers can struggle with scour issues and when weaning, calves can lose any extra weight gained and any associated economic benefit, due to poor rumen development. Up to now, farmers using Axcelera-C in the conventional way have been able to reduce the growth check at weaning, experience reduced scours and improve vitality by feeding Axcelera-C in conjunction with these higher levels of milk.

Advanced Weaning Program

However, when using Axcelera-C with more progressive farmers in the UK and USA as part of an Advanced Weaning Program, farmers have been able to wean at 40 days by using less liquid milk whilst producing an overall accelerated performance pre and post weaning – at a reduced overall cost. Interestingly since introducing the program, farmers are seeing a reduction in scours, with many using fewer veterinary medicines and antibiotics. The improved condition, energy levels and vigour in calves is also complemented by a noticeable change in body shape, showing increased body depth and rumen capacity – setting the animal up for a lifetime of higher performance”.

The Program

Using the Axcelera-C Advanced Weaning Program farmers feed their current liquid milk program along with ad-lib Axcelera-C from day 1-21 and then reduce milk intakes whilst feeding Axcelera C up to 700g per day up to weaning and beyond, mixed with forage or starter feed,  reaching the critical 1.5kg dry matter intakes by day 40. Axcelera-C isn’t offered beyond day 50.

This program enables farmers to put more calves through their system and reduce the management time and costs associated with mixing and feeding liquid milk.