What the research tells us
Results from trials conducted at Land
O’Lakes Purina Feed LongView Research
Farm in 2010 and 2011 show that calves fed a
highly fermentable calf starter had an increase
of 70 pounds more gain, 1.2 inches greater
growth in height and 4.7 inches greater growth
in length compared to control calves. Study
results also indicated a 118% increase in ben-
eﬁ cial growth in rumen papillae length, a 3%
feed-to-gain ratio and an average daily gain
(ADG) advantage of 29% at 24 weeks of age.
Continued research at The Ohio State Uni-
versity looking at rumen papillae growth is
consistent with the original work conducted
by Land O’Lakes Purina Feed, notes Daniels.
A trial that Idsinga has been conducting on
his own operation also shows promising results.
For the past two months, Idsinga has been feed-
ing a highly fermentable calf starter to calves
post-weaning at 85 days of age. Initial measure-
ments indicate that calves in this new program
have grown 1.4 inches longer, weighed 33
pounds more and measured 1.2 inches taller at
hip height than those on the standard TMR fed.
“We’re looking forward to getting more
data from the trial we are conducting,” ex-
plains Idsinga. “If we can manage to skip the
growth slump that comes post-weaning, there
is a lot of potential to our bottom line.”
Heifers that transition through this time
period smoothly should be on track to reach
other key stages in a timely manner, includ-
ing puberty. Puberty is known to be associ-
ated more with body weight than a heifer’s
age. Heifers that go their whole life without
experiencing a growth slump might hit all of
the subsequent “targets” earlier and enter into
the milking herd sooner.
Remember, “heifers are not small cows,”
notes Daniels. “They are young, growing animals
and their diets should be tailored to them.” Ë
FYI I For more information on rumen papil-
lae growth and development contact Kristy
Daniels at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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www.dairybusiness.com April 2012 WESTERNDAIRYBUSINESS