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Does starter intake impact future success?

While calf starter is a component of the preweaned dairy animal’s diet, the majority of nutrients needed for growth during this first stage of life come from milk or milk replacer. We know that starter is important for rumen development, but what other benefits does this early consumption provide, now and in the future?

Elizabeth Russell, a Ph.D. student at University of British Columbia, has been looking into the variation of starter intake between calves and how consumption impacts long term production goals. She shared some of her early results during the Dairy Cattle Welfare Council’s annual symposium held in Fort Worth, Texas.

Russell found wide variation in how much starter calves consumed. Average daily consumption in the study was 0.67 kilograms (nearly 1.5 pounds), with a range of almost nothing to more than 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) per day.

Abby Bauer

June 1, 2023



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