Whole milk or CMR: which does a better job optimising three essential factors?

It is not surprising that whole milk is considered the most natural, nutritious and obvious choice for rearing calves. Whole milk has qualities that have yet to be replaced entirely by milk replacers. It remains to determine what facets of the original scenario should be retained, and what elements be adjusted to ensure the best health and performance in the context of modern production farming.

What are whole milk and CMR and how do they influence the three essential factors, health, preformance and convenience?

Whole milk

Whole milk can be raw bulk milk or saleable milk, pasteurised bulk milk, raw waste milk or pasteurised waste milk. Waste milk can consist of colostral milk, transition milk, mastitis milk, antibiotic milk or milk with a high SCC. Each of these types of milk are excluded from sale to processors.

Calf Milk Replacer

The term CMR denotes a wide range of products each with their own characteristics. The choice of the CMR used is an important management decision and will play a key role in the health and performance of the calves to which it is fed.

Whole milk, CMR and health

The high long-term cost of illness in both milk production and farm efficiency is leading many producers to ensure that their calves are best equipped to handle immunological challenges whilst achieving ambitious growth objectives. Whole milk and CMR can be used to achieve maximum performance and disease-resistant calves.

Whole milk, CMR and performance

Our understanding of the role of nutrition in dairy performance has evolved considerably in recent years. Limiting early calf nutrition attenuates or shuts down valuable natural growth mechanisms that might otherwise be leveraged to achieve higher calf performance. Or, expressed in other terms, when the imposed undernourishment of conventional limitfeeding programmes is replaced by a diet that promotes maximum growth, the calf will express its full genetic potential.

Whole milk, CMR and convenience

Setting ambitious performance goals for the dairy farm can be challenging. The right liquid feed solution should be easy to implement, monitor and scale while meeting the calf’s full nutritional needs for optimal growth.