Replacements: Medicated milk replacer rule changes to begin

Beginning in April, U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulation changes will affect manufacturing and management practices – and economics – of the most popular antibiotic option for calf milk replacer, according to Coleen Jones, research associate, and Jud Heinrichs, professor of Dairy and Animal Science, Penn State University College of Agricultural Sciences.

The first change adjusts the ratio of neomycin sulfate (brand name Neomycin) to oxytetracycline (brand name Terramycin) allowed in making medicated feeds. This drug combination is often called Neo-Terra (NT) on product labels. The old ratio was 2 parts neomycin sulfate to 1 part oxytetracycline; the new ratio is 1 to 1. Manufacturers must stop producing medicated feeds containing NT 2:1 by April 2, and those feeds must be out of distribution by Oct. 2.

The second change affects the dose and length of time NT 1:1 can be fed.

• Feeding medicated milk replacer from birth to weaning will no longer be permitted. Medicated feeds containing NT 1:1 may be fed for 7-14 continuous days, at a rate of 10 mg/lb. of bodyweight, for treatment of bacterial enteritis caused by E. coli and bacterial pneumonia (shipping fever complex) caused by P. multocida.

For a calf weighing 100 lbs. and eating 1-1.25 lbs. of milk replacer powder each day, the treatment rate works out to a concentration of 1,600 to 2,000 grams of NT per ton of milk replacer.

The bottom line: When needed for treatment, the new higher rate should be effective. But, Terramycin is more expensive than Neomycin, so the cost of antibiotics will increase on an as-fed basis, and it will probably be cost prohibitive to feed to all calves on a regular basis. Also, NT is not effective in treating diarrhea caused by rota or corona virus or by coccidia, Jones and Heinrichs add.

The updated regulations still allow NT to be used for improving feed efficiency, fed in milk replacer or starter grain at 0.05-0.1 mg per pound of body weight in calves under 250 lbs. Assuming a 100-lb. calf eating 1-1.25 lbs. of milk replacer powder per day, this rate works out to 16 to 20 grams of NT per ton of milk replacer. However, research has shown little improvement in feed efficiency at less than 600 g/ton.

The bottom line: It does not look like feeding low levels of NT to improve feed efficiency will be cost-effective, Jones and Heinrichs said.

The new regulations may require producers to maintain separate milk replacer inventories. An “add pack” approach may allow producers to continue feeding a standard non-medicated milk replacer and mix in NT 1:1 for calves that need treatment.

Consult with your veterinarian and nutritionist to determine the most desirable management approach.


Provimi North America launches ‘Nurture’

Provimi North America’s new line of milk replacer products – under the brand name NurtureTM calf formula – includes six products (Pinnacle, PlusEZ, Basic EZ, Basic, Start and Value), each designed for a specific need. All are formulated with a proprietary neonatal nutritional technology, NeoTec4TM, a combination of essential fatty acids. Field tests show improved average daily gain, feed efficiency and frame growth, and reduced scours.

For more information, visit or

Arrest non-medicated energy supplement

Advance® Arrest® non-medicated energy supplement, from Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition, is now available with ProVance® Microbials. The new formula provides rapidly available energy, essential electrolytes and fluids, plus fast-acting microorganisms to help overcome upset and unbalanced digestive tracts and enhance an animal’s immune system. A specialized gelling action slows fluid passage, increases nutrient absorption and helps hold insoluble fiber in suspension, helping scouring and recovering calves. It is available in a 12-lb. bag (fully recyclable) and features a heavy-duty zipper for an airtight seal.

For more information, phone: 866-894-3660 or visit

Land O’Lakes Purina Feed now on Facebook

Land O’Lakes Purina Feed LLC launched Calf Wise™ on Facebook. The fan page allows dairy producers and calf growers to interact with company personnel, learn calf raising tips, get updates on nutrition and management research, and provide feedback on their experiences. Producers can share photos of calves raised on AMPLI-Calf® Technology and participate in weekly polls on calf nutrition topics.

For more information, visit and search “Calf Wise.”

Calf Mos Plus

Calf Mos Plus, a water suspendable prebiotic 2-way combination of glucomannans and essential oils, is distributed by specialty ingredient supplier The Old Mill Troy in North Troy, Vt. Calf Mos Plus shows benefits on gut health, immunity and performance and is used in milk replacers or whole milk fed to calves. It contains XTRACT Instant, a microencapsulated plant extract (containing essential oils from capsicum, oregano and cinnamon), suitable for use in milk replacers, and has been proven in automatic calf milk replacer systems.

For further information, e-mail: or phone: 800-945-4474.


Cow, replacement numbers

As of Jan. 1, 2010, there were 9.08 million cows in U.S. herds, about 252,000 less than Jan. 1, 2009 and 119,000 less than July 1, 2009, according to USDA’s semiannual cattle estimate.

Dairy replacement heifers (weighing >500 lbs.) were estimated at 4.52 million on Jan. 1, 2010, up 106,000 from a year ago and 16,000 more than July 1, 2009. Of the total, about 2.94 million are expected to calve in the next year, up about 32,000 from Jan. 1, 2009.

Based on these estimates, there were 49.7 replacements (>500 lbs.) for every 100 cows in U.S. herds on Jan. 1, 2010. That compares with 47.3 replacements per 100 cows as of Jan. 1, 2009. If the “expected to calve” estimate is correct, there were 32.3 replacement heifers for each 100 cows as of Jan. 1, 2010, up from 31.1 heifers per 100 cows a year earlier.


Time to reconsider acidified milk replacers?

With the recent changes in regulations regarding antibiotics in milk replacers, the acidification of milk or milk replacer may provide calf raisers with an effective and scientifically valid alternative.

To acidify milk or milk replacer, you will need pH test strips and propionic or formic acid (available from a veterinary product or chemical product supplier).

For more information, visit the Dairy Calf & Heifer Association website:

Prevent calf scours

Treatment of calf scours, the leading cause of dairy calf death in the first month of life, is difficult, labor intensive, costly and often unsuccessful. Kevin Hill, D.V.M., manager of Dairy Technical Services for Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, stresses prevention through best management practices:

1) immunity. Manage the pregnant cow with an effective, broad-spectrum vaccination program to ensure high antibody levels are available in colostrum.

Feed a 90-lb. calf 1 gallon of colostrum as soon as possible after birth, and another gallon 12 hours later. Use a sanitized tube feeder if the calf will not drink that volume.

Monitor colostrum quality. Antibody content can vary. Delayed feeding or reduced colostrum consumption makes quality  even more critical. Fresh colostrum can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, or frozen for use beyond 24 hours, without significant loss of antibodies.

Energy and protein drive the immune system. Many 20/20 milk replacers fed according to label directions will not meet the calf’s nutritional and immune requirements, especially during periods of stress.

BVD viruses can create immunosuppresion, opening the door to other infectious agents. Whole-herd vaccination against BVD and rapid removal of persistently infected calves are essential.

2) exposure. Viruses, bacteria and protozoa cause infectious diarrhea. Manage essential areas to minimize exposure.

Keep maternity areas clean; remove calves immediately from the cow and calving pen. Do not allow the calf to nurse; the cow’s teat surface likely is contaminated and can expose the calf to scours-causing pathogens. Johne’s-positive cows also put the calf at risk.

Place the calf in a dry, clean, individual hutch. Do not allow contact with feces, urine or nasal discharge from other calves, including the last calf to use the hutch.

Feed calves with clean, properly-stored colostrum in cleaned, disinfected and dried bottles and buckets.

For more information, e-mail: or phone: 801-540-2895.

Optimize heifer growth

Heifers that reach the milking string earlier pay back their cost of rearing and start contributing to profitability sooner. Ensure your ration is meeting your heifers’ needs, allowing them to reach breeding size sooner.

• Feed high-quality protein to support proper skeletal and muscle growth without overconditioning.

Feed high levels of neutral detergent fiber in older heifers’ diets. Fill is especially important to maximize capacity and rumen fermentation without overfeeding.

Formulate heifer diets utilizing low-cost byproducts and homegrown forages for optimized growth and rumen health.

Test forages and feeds, and supply  vitamins and minerals heifers need to stay healthy and growing properly.

For more information, visit

Prevent pinkeye

Norm Stewart, D.V.M., M.S., manager of Dairy Technical Services for Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, offers a three-pronged approach to pinkeye prevention:

1) vaccinations three to six weeks prior to pinkeye season stimulate antibody production in tears that bathe the eye. Use a broad-spectrum vaccine effective against a wide variety of bacterial organisms such as Moraxella bovis strains and isolates.

2) fly control. Face flies transport bacteria from the eyes of one animal to another. Following label directions, customize fly control to your production system:

Treat animals of all ages and their premises with a long-lasting insecticide. For calves and cows, apply a low-volume pour-on for rapid knockdown of the existing fly population. For growing replacement heifers, apply two ear tags in addition to a low-volume pour-on insecticide.

On the animal’s premises, use a microencapsulated insecticide with long-lasting control on a wide variety of surfaces.

Use additional fly control measures as necessary, such as back-rubbers, oilers and other devices that can be used on pasture or in the milking parlor exit lanes.

3) environmental management.

• Eliminate organic debris such as wet/rotting hay, straw, feed, silage and manure.

Pasture mowing, dust control and man-made or natural shades are important to minimize eye irritants, such as pollen, seed heads, dust and ultraviolet light. Eye irritation and physical damage allow  infectious pinkeye organisms to attach to the surface of the eye. Irritants can also cause the eye to tear, which can attract flies.

For information, e-mail:; phone: 815-341-2280.