Can your nutrition plan predict the future?

Published on Wed, 02/22/2017 - 1:39pm

Can your nutrition plan predict the future?

Feeding more nutrition in the pre-weaning phase may help set calves up for lifetime success

What would you do if you knew what the future held? Would you plan differently if you could determine if your calves were going to be productive adults? Although the future is unpredictable, there are steps you can take to help ensure the future success of your calves.
Feeding more nutrition pre-weaning, combined with good management, appears to positively impact immune function, rate of gain and first lactation milk production[1], time and time again.
“Young calves have a tremendous capacity to utilize nutrients,” says Michael Ballou, Ph.D., associate dean for research and associate professor in the department of animal and food sciences at Texas Tech University. “The more we maximize nutritional intake pre-weaning, the more productive calves appear to be throughout their lives.
Delivering more nutrients pre-weaning may also translate to better immunity post-weaning. A study by Ballou and his colleagues[2] challenging post-weaned calves with Salmonella typhimurium showed calves fed 2.6 pounds of milk solids per day were more resistant to severe inflammation than calves fed 1 pound of milk solids per day.
“What we are seeing in the research data and on farms is improved immune function and disease resistance in calves fed more nutrition pre-weaning,” says Ballou. “On top of that, these calves have improved average daily gain and feed efficiency.”

The results are clear – feeding more nutrition in the pre-weaning phase can help set your calves up for a lifetime of success. So why leave the future up to chance? Ask your nutritionist about implementing a full potential diet into your feeding program.
“We recommend feeding a full potential diet of at least 2.5 pounds of milk solids in 8-10 quarts of liquid per calf daily,” says Tom Earleywine, Ph.D., director of nutritional services with Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products. “Feeding this high level of pre-weaning nutrition can help protect your calves’ future and the future of your herd.”
For more information on nutrition and full potential feeding, visit or call (800) 618-6455.
Since 1951, when Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products Company developed the first calf milk replacer, the company has been committed to creating the best milk replacers from the best technologies and quality ingredients. Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products Company is a division of Land O’Lakes, Inc. a national farmer-owned food and agricultural organization.  

[1] Soberon, F., and M. E. Van Amburgh. 2013. LACTATION BIOLOGY SYMPOSIUM: The effect of nutrient intake from milk or milk replacer of preweaned dairy calves on lactation milk yield as adults: A meta-analysis of current data1. J. Anim. Sci. 91:706-712. doi:10.2527/jas.2012-5834
[2] Ballou, M.A., D.L. Hanson, C.J. Cobb, B.S. Obeidat, M.D. Sellers, A.R. Pepper-Yowell, J.A. Carroll, T.J. Earleywine et al. 2015. Plane of nutrition influences the performance, innate leukocyte responses, and resistance to an oral Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium challenge in Jersey calves. J Dairy Sci 98(3):1972-1982.