Now more than at any time in recent decades, farmers face a big decision on not only what calf milk replacer (CMR) to use, but also whether it's the most viable option versus cow's milk.

The 'Out of the Tank' Option

With some farms currently receiving very low milk prices, the option to use milk that would ordinarily be sold is tempting. However, based on correct mixing and preparation of a quality CMR e.g. Volac Calfpride Glow, a farmer might expect:
  • Higher dry matter content = Better growth rates
  • Standard protocol for milk preparation = Better hygiene
  • 'Set' mixing/concentrations = More consistency
  • Manufactured product = No disease transfer – e.g. Johne's
  • Standard feeding levels = Potentially less digestive upset
  • The table below based on a price of 24ppl for "sold" milk shows the facts.

So Which CMR?

The choice is vast and unfortunately, there are many poor quality, cheap products available that, while attractive, do not represent the very best value for money. The most efficient period in a calf's life for feed conversion to growth is the first few months of life. This period is critical for the rearer to ensure that the animal's potential is maximised. This should be in the form of an holistic approach with attention to the smallest details. Too often we see the "bag price" of milk powders influencing what product is used. At this stage Agricentre recommend a "zero tolerance" approach to compromise. Choose the best powder that your calves deserve and help them to achieve those targets (24 month to 1st calf etc…) that you set.

Agricentre stock a range of milk powders, including both our own select Topstock range as well as the Volac range of CMR powders. Volac powders are notable for some exceptional features. Those for Volac Glow are listed below:
Ultrafiltered whey Not evaporated which can result in denatured proteins
Low ash (potassium etc…) Can therefore be fed at higher concentrations without risk
Excellent amino acid profile Supports high growth rate
Natural phospholipids in whey are retained High fat digestibility
Natural "globular" proteins are retained Supports healthy growth
Spray-dried Less risky manufacturing process – more consistent product
Mixes and homogenises well Does not separate after mixing
Small fat globule size High fat digestibility

Volac Calfpride CMRs are unique to UK farming as they are the only powders which are manufactured in the UK using only British milk. This represents not only peace of mind for the farmer but is a tangible measure of support for UK farming.

Challenge other suppliers to match up! Many farms use milk straight from the cow to rear calves. Now more than ever it’s a tempting way to save money but it does need careful consideration!