Feeding calves milk replacer is the best economic solution for dairy farmers when there is a shortage of non-saleable milk. Feeding good quality milk replacer (MR) offers other advantages such as consistency, as well as protection from disease transmission. Of recent interest has been to determine the right amount to be fed to ensure health and rapid growth.
Research has shown that changes in nutrient uptake can modify gene expression resulting in changes in performance. One concern that has been reported is that the advantages of feeding calves’ large quantities of milk or MR (which results in greater body weight at weaning) are usually lost by 4 months of age compared with more moderate MR feeding regimens. It is suspected this happens as a result of reduced rumen development when larger amounts of MR or milk are fed.