News 270 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Calves benefit from whole milk additive

Mid Canterbury agribusiness company Winslow has developed a way that farmers can use the whole milk on hand to feed calves but still get the nutritional benefits that are in the powdered milk supplements.

 The innovation, called NuStart Milk Additive, is the first of its type in the UK and, according to Provimi which was a partner in development, the first in the world.

Unsupplemented milk not enough
Winslow nutritionist Dr Rob Derrick was part of the team that developed NuStart Milk Additive. He says milk alone will not bring a calf to optimum condition in its first three months. "Unsupplemented milk is not enough because calves are not getting the many small milk feeds per day they would get from mum, and they are kept in large groups with increased risk of disease. You only have to look at the anaemic, lethargic calves produced under milk-only veal systems to appreciate that.

First 12 weeks critical
"Research has shown the first 12 weeks is key to a calf's lifelong potential as a dairy cow. It is a critical period for rumen development and calves are most at risk of immune-related problems and disease. It is also the most efficient period for daily live weight gain." But with feed costs rising by the week, many dairy farmers will want to make best use of milk they have available while still wanting their calves to reach target growth rates and do well post weaning.

Developed by Provimi, NuStart provides calves with the benefits of an effective prebiotic, etheric oils (from herbs and spices) and functional fibre that helps optimum rumen development, sets them up to go onto grass earlier and put on maximum weight.

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