Calves fed high protein calf starters excel in milking herds

Calves fed high protein calf starters excel in milking herds

Dairy producers see long-term results from investment in AMPLI-Calf® Starter grains.

The management, care and products used to give calves the best start possible vary from farm to farm, but the end goal is the same: to help calves achieve their full potential in the herd. Producers who feed high-quality calf starters are better able to reach that common goal and notice enhanced long-term health, growth and production potential.

The lasting results of feeding a high protein calf starter are easy to see when evaluating the winners of the 2009 Land O’Lakes Purina Feed AMPLI-Calf® Tanbark Challenge. Producers who entered the show ring challenge that year not only noticed that their calves grew taller, but they also began eating solids sooner and more frequently with better immunity to early problems.

On top of benefits associated with the product, producers who built their calf rations around the calf starter had the opportunity to enter for cash prizes through the AMPLI-Calf® Tanbark Challenge in 2009. Calves fed an AMPLI-Calf® Starter and shown at World Dairy Expo, the All-American Dairy Show or the North American International Livestock Exhibition were eligible for the contest. The highest placing calves fed an AMPLI-Calf® Starter in each breed were recognized with cash prizes.

Three years later, producers who fed the high protein starter are continuing to see enhanced long-term benefits in growth and production potential as the calves become prominent members of their herds.

Jo-Dee Denmark Nookie
Jo-Dee Denmark cow photoJodi Coppini of Jo-Dee Swiss in Tillamook, Ore., says that she turned to AMPLI-Calf® Starter to give her calves an edge in the show ring in 2009. Feeding the high protein starter helped her calf, Jo-Dee Denmark Nookie, to be crowned the 2009 AMPLI-Calf® Tanbark Challenge winner in the Brown Swiss division at World Dairy Expo. Today, Nookie continues to succeed as a Very Good-88 2-year-old and is preparing to calve for a second time. Her 2-year-old record topped 19,580 pounds of milk.

Jo-Dee Denmark calf photo
“She’s doing really well. We’re so pleased with how she’s turned out,” Coppini says of Nookie, crediting a successful start as part of the equation to the cow’s long-term health successes.

Coppini notes that she started feeding AMPLI-Calf® Starter to a handful of Jo-Dee Swiss heifers to determine how it would fit into their program. After seeing the calves’ response to the starter, they transitioned to a program based on AMPLI-Calf®. Coppini says the decision has paid dividends to her family’s herd.

“Our calves consistently gain more weight after being weaned,” she says. “They are noticeably taller and longer and reach breeding size sooner than before we were feeding AMPLI-Calf®.”

Meadow Ridge Escapade Salli
No stranger to the show ring, Roger Riebe of Cumberland, Wis., is also a firm believer in the benefits of AMPLI-Calf® Starter. His 2009 Jersey spring calf entry, Meadow Ridge Escapade Salli, won the AMPLI-Calf® Tanbark Challenge at World Dairy Expo and is now considered to be one of the best 3-year-olds on his farm. The herd is not on test, but Riebe says he can attest to the fact that Salli is definitely ahead of her herd mates who were fed conventional calf starter.

“My calves have more aggressive appetites and by six months of age they are much taller and longer,” says Riebe.

After noticing growth, health and production benefits in the calves fed AMPLI-Calf® Starter, Riebe began feeding most of his calf crop the product. Today, the majority of the calves at Riebe farms receive AMPLI-Calf® Starter until reaching three months of age.

“The calf starter gets them going quicker and helps them throughout their whole life,” he says.

D-S-Pine-Lawn Lou Abby
Brent Schuler of Fleetwood, Pa., knows firsthand the long-term benefits of feeding a Full Potential ration to his calves. Schuler’s heifer, D-S-Pine-Lawn Lou Abby, stood out in the show ring as a spring calf, winning the AMPLI-Calf® Tanbark Challenge for the Holstein division in 2009 at the All-American Dairy Show.

Three years later, Abby is mid-lactation and currently scored Excellent-90. Prior to being scored Excellent, she logged a 2-year-old record of more than 24,000 pounds of milk and a score of Very Good-87.

Schuler credits feeding AMPLI-Calf® Starter in helping Abby achieve optimum breeding size quickly - allowing her to enter the milking string at 22 months of age.

To further improve his calf raising program, Schuler recently started complimenting his AMPLI-Calf® Starter-based calf ration with AMPLI-Calf® Grower. After weaning calves are transitioned to the grower for six months.

“We’re really happy with the combination of the calf starter and grower,” he says. “The heifers have good intakes and we definitely see more long-term growth.”

AMPLI-Calf® Starter is research-proven and field tested. In Land O’Lakes Purina Feed proprietary research, calves on AMPLI-Calf® Starter consumed more starter, grew heavier and had greater hip height growth1. In nationwide field demonstrations, 50 plus herds and 1,300 plus calves confirmed the positive benefits delivered by the AMPLI-Calf®.

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1Source: 2006 Land O’Lakes Purina Feed research; control and test groups fed 20% texturized starters with 22:20 calf milk replacer (1.5 lbs./ day).