The perfect milk replacer / concentrate combi
By Agriland Team
The first nine weeks of a calf’s life is responsible for 25% of their total body weight. Liffey Mills has a pedigree in calf rearing dating back to the pre-quota days of the early 1980s. Liffey Mills Calf 18 coarse ration is over 35 years in production.
Formulated with toasted and flaked products from the company’s own mill, Liffey Mills Calf 18 has grown to become the best-selling calf formulation in Ireland.
Key ingredients include: flaked maize; flaked full-fat soya (for bloom in the calf); flaked peas and beans; and flaked toasted barley.
Along with high-quality ingredients, Liffey Mills Calf 18 also features a comprehensive mineral and health package. Pelleted minerals and fine proteins are added to ensure that they are consumed by the calf.
- Liffey Mills Calf 18 contains Levucell yeast for smooth digestive function, which allows higher intakes by stabilising rumen pH.
- It contains molashine – the highest grade of molasses on the market – to give the coarse ration palatability.
- Vitamin B1, enhanced levels of vitamin E and phosphorus are also added to ensure adequate protection against CNN (cerebrocortical necrosis). This exclusive vitamin and mineral performance package will help reduce the likelihood of any setbacks, either nutritional or pathological, in the early stages of a calf’s life.
A high-quality milk replacer:
In autumn 2016, after a process of elimination involving many other possible sources, Liffey Mills sourced Green Valley Elvor milk replacer from Sofivo – part of one of the largest milk processors in France. Sofivo has been manufacturing milk replacers for 50 years.
- 25% protein and 18.5% oil
- A skim and whey-based powder
- Contains mainly dairy proteins
- Its vitamin and trace element content helps reduce any setbacks in the early stages of a calf’s life
- Available in 25kg bags
- Very competitively priced – big bag at a small bag price
Liffey Mills believes that the partnership of Green Valley Elvor milk replacer and the Liffey Mills’ calf feed range goes most of the way in successful calf rearing.
Why feed Elvor milk replacer over whole milk?
Teagasc research shows that calves can grow equally as well on milk replacer as whole milk diets. However, this is providing that the milk replacer is formulated correctly from good-quality ingredients and is fed according to the instructions.
Its independent study on dairy heifers actually proved that feeding high-quality milk replacers could improve calf performance above whole milk diets by a staggering 6kg of liveweight after 56 days-of-age. Subsequently, this weight differential continued until day 70.
One of the possible reasons for this improved growth rate is the fact that the calves fed milk replacer consumed 33% more concentrates over the trial period than those fed whole milk.
Skim versus whey – what’s the difference?
Skim-based proteins are produced by dehydrating milk after the removal of the majority of its milk fat content. Whey-based protein is a more common protein supplement produced by dehydrating whey, which is the liquid by-product of cheese production.
While skim proteins are of a higher grade, whey proteins actually contain much higher levels of essential amino acids; therefore, it’s a must to strike the correct balance.
Having too much skim in a milk replacer will result in calves remaining fuller for longer and, as a result, their appetite for concentrates and fibre (straw) is suppressed. With this suppression, the calf’s rumen takes longer to develop.
The above is why Liffey Mills’ Green Valley Elvor Performance contains calculated amounts of both skim and whey that complement each other in the overall mix.
Liffey Mills’ Green Valley Elvor Performance milk replacer boasts a fat content of 18.5% and the fat content drives the energy level of the product.
To put this into context, some milk replacers can contain fat contents as low as 10%, while others can be as high as 25%. With Green Valley Elvor Performance sitting at 18.5%, you are assured that the calf is automatically at a lower risk of contracting diarrhoea whilst consuming the most palatable of feeds.
Ash content – for better or worse?
When farmers price milk replacers, they should always ask about the ash content. Raw whole milk has an ash content of 5.5-6.5%.
Milk replacers will have higher ash contents for two main reasons:
-The ingredients making up the powder are primarily milk-based and may also include additional trace elements, minerals, vitamins and additives that will increase the ash content, all for the better of the product.
-High levels of low-quality ingredient inclusion, such as low-grade vegetable and dairy protein sources will drive up the ash content for the worse.
-With an ash content of 8.4% derived from high levels of vitamins and mineral inclusions corresponding to the premix, Liffey Mills is very proud to put its Elvor Performance label out there amongst the market leaders of milk replacers.
Combining Elvor Performance and Calf 18 – What to expect?
It’s a simple rule of thumb, but you will only get out what you put in. With this in mind, Liffey Mills suggests the following as a simple guide:
-The amount of milk fed and concentrate intake determines calf growth rate in the period up to 12 weeks.
-The target should be to get the calf to grow from 40-45kg (birth weight) to about 100kg in this 12-week period.
-This can be achieved with inputs of approximately 25kg of Green Valley Elvor Performance milk replacer and 120kg of Liffey Mills Calf 18 ration.