IMPACT OF MILK PROTEIN SOURCE ON NUTRIENT DIGESTIBILITY & CALF PERFORMANCE

Posted by Matthew D. Sellers, PhD on Aug 13, 2020 8:30:27 AM

Defining the nutritional and functional differences between skim milk powder and whey protein concentrate and exploring the effects of these milk protein sources on nutrient digestibility and performance in calves.

Calf milk replacer (CMR) is fed to a majority of the dairy calves in the United States in place of whole milk because it is often more economical, provides convenience and consistency, and lowers risk of disease transmission from unpasteurized milk. Many CMRs are made exclusively from dairy ingredients due to the calf’s innate ability to efficiently digest, absorb, and utilize the nutrients that naturally exist in ingredients of dairy origin.

Research into products to replace whole milk began in the mid-20th century and primarily utilized casein, skim milk, and whey as protein sources. As reviewed in Kertz et al. (2017), the prevailing thought of the time was that quality of protein within a milk replacer was directly related to the ability of the milk replacer to form a clot in the abomasum, and that poor-quality CMR would not form clots in the abomasum, resulting in diarrhea and reduced calf performance. Given that CMRs formulated with dried skim milk powder (SMP) readily clot in the abomasum due to the presence of casein and CMRs formulated with whey protein concentrate (WPC) do not clot in the abomasum due to the absence of casein, one might assume that CMR formulated with SMP would result in improved health and digestibility in calves. A review by Logenbach and Heinrichs (1998) dispels this myth and states that factors other than clotting are responsible for observed differences in calf performance.

This paper defines the nutritional and functional differences between SMP and WPC and explores the effects of these milk protein sources on nutrient digestibility and performance in calves.

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Topics: ANIMAL NUTRITION

DURABILITY EVALUATION OF A RUMEN-PROTECTED CHOLINE SUPPLEMENT DURING MILL AND FARM HANDLING

Posted by H. Díaz*, M. Sellers, S. McGregor, J. Albrecht, O. Drehmel and J. Linn. on Jul 22, 2020 3:11:39 PM

82795 Hector Diaz poster presentation

THE IMPORTANCE OF CHOLINE TO DAIRY COWS

In mammals, choline is required for synthesis of phosphatidylcholine and acetylcholine – two important phospholipids that are key to numerous functions in the body. While choline may not be considered an essential nutrient in ruminants due to the ability of the cow to synthesize it, research suggests that increased absorbed choline supports cow health, production, and metabolism. Intestinal flow of choline supplies less than 30% of the choline requirement of the cow, meaning the remainder must be synthesized in the cow or supplemented in an absorbable form.

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Topics: ANIMAL NUTRITION

USES FOR A BRIX REFRACTOMETER ON THE FARM

Posted by Milk Spectialties Global Calf Technical Team on Jun 26, 2020 2:49:27 PM

A refractometer with a brix scale is a very useful device for monitoring the nutrition and health of dairy calves. It is a durable piece of equipment that will last many years if cared for properly.

WHAT IS A REFRACTOMETER?

A refractometer is a device that can be used to measure the sugar or solids content of various
solutions. There are manual (figure 1) and digital (figure 2) versions, both of which work very well on the farm. The manual type is usually available for less than $100. Refractometers are available with different types of scales to measure specific gravity, total solids, and Brix. Uses for a Brix refractometer are discussed below. Your herd veterinarian can help you select the most appropriate model for your farm.

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Topics: ANIMAL NUTRITION

FAT FEEDING DURING HEAT STRESS:  SUPPLEMENTAL FATS

Posted by Richard Shepardson, M.S. and Matthew Sellers, Ph.D on Jun 22, 2020 10:25:09 AM

FAT FEEDING DURING HEAT STRESS: EFFECTS OF SUPPLEMENTAL FAT

Fat is added to many dairy rations at all times of the year to increase energy density of the ration, improve milk and component production, and help with reproductive success. During times of heat stress, adding fat to a ration makes sense because it can help maintain energy in a diet without taking up much space. 

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Topics: ANIMAL NUTRITION

INTRO TO FAT FEEDING DURING HEAT STRESS

Posted by Richard Shepardson, M.S. and Matthew Sellers, Ph.D on Jun 16, 2020 9:40:55 AM

Implementing strategic fat feeding on dairy farms can help mitigate some of the economic losses caused by heat stress.

The US dairy industry suffers significant economic losses due to the negative effects of heat stress on cattle every year. Heat stress decreases dry matter intake, leading to lower milk yield and increased risk for conditions such as lower body condition scores, rumen acidosis, and milk fat depression. Increasing ration contents of fermentable carbohydrates can exacerbate acidosis. Today, the best way to handle heat stress is through fat feeding.

Fat is a non-fermentable nutrient, and saturated fatty acids (FA) do not decrease dry matter intake, negatively impact rumen fermentation or contribute to altered biohydrogenation pathways. Feeding fat can increase nutrient density of the ration to improve energy consumption, especially when intake is lower during heat stress. Implementing strategic fat feeding on dairy farms can help mitigate some of the economic losses caused by heat stress.

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Topics: ANIMAL NUTRITION

STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVED REPRODUCTIVE PERFORMANCE IN EARLY LACTATION COWS

Posted by Richard Shepardson, M.S. and Matthew Sellers, Ph.D on Jun 4, 2020 7:00:00 AM

Minimize the days spent in negative energy balance as AN important strategy to improve peak milk and reproductive performance in cows during early lactation

The onset of lactation is accompanied by extreme physiological shifts for dairy cows and causes a gap between the biochemical energy necessary to support lactation and the dietary energy taken in through dry matter intake (DMI). If cows are not obtaining adequate nutrients through feed, they enter negative energy balance (NEBAL) and must utilize body reserves (i.e. adipose tissue) to make up the difference. Cows in NEBAL, and those that remain in NEBAL for extended periods of time, will decrease in body weight and condition which can lead to a variety of metabolic and reproductive issues. Minimizing the time spent in NEBAL improves peak milk and reproductive performance.

IMPROVING ENERGY BALANCE AND REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS

Minimizing days spent in NEBAL is an important strategy to improve reproductive success. Effects of energy balance on reproductive performance have been well documented. Butler (2000) and Gumen et al. (2011) will be briefly reviewed for the purposes of this paper.

Energy balance can impact the ability of the cow to return to estrous and ability to carry a calf. Decreased reproductive success is also associated with increased plasma non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) concentrations present during NEBAL as the body mobilizes energy reserves. Negative energy balance alters luteinizing hormone (LH) pulse frequency and decreases ovarian sensitivity to LH. Circulating blood progesterone, often referred to as the “pregnancy hormone,” is decreased when cows are in NEBAL, meaning that these cows also have decreased fertility. Oocyte quality and function of the corpus luteum are also negatively impacted by prolonged NEBAL. Carvalho et al., (2014) demonstrated that pregnancies per artificial insemination (P/AI) at 40 days in milk for cows that lost, maintained, or gained body condition in the first 21 days of lactation was 25%, 38%, and 84%, respectively. These numbers were mirrored by the P/AI at 70 days as well.

Interestingly, energy corrected milk yield of all three groups was not different, nor was body condition score at calving. Finally, Domecq et al. (1997) showed that cows that lost 0.40 units of body condition decreased first service conception rate by 17%, and cows that lost 0.80 units of body condition decreased by 20%.

In order to improve reproductive success and peak milk yield, dairy managers and nutritionists must focus on returning their cows to positive energy balance (PEBAL) as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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Topics: ANIMAL NUTRITION

4 STEPS TO BLOOD MEAL REPLACEMENT

Posted by Mike Harper, Ph.D., Matthew Sellers, Ph.D. on May 20, 2020 11:53:01 AM

Blood Meal Replacement with Rumen-Protected Lysine and High Bypass Protein Feedstuffs For Dairy Cattle.

Nearly two dozen meat processing plants closed in April 2020 and many more have reduced production due to the spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States. Pork and beef harvesting capacity decreased by 40% at the end of April 2020, according to CoBank, and remain below full capacity. This has caused both blood meal shortages and increased prices. Whenever a specific ingredient increases substantially in price, it is prudent to explore alternative feedstuffs to supply required nutrients such as metabolizable lysine and protein. 

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Topics: ANIMAL NUTRITION

DELAYING SMALL GRAIN HARVEST

Posted by Michael T. Harper, Ph. D. | Dairy Technical Specialist on May 1, 2020 8:00:00 AM

A strategy for increased forage yield during milk production constraints

Farmers across the country are having to reduce milk production due to reduced demand during this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic. While reducing ration energy density for some cows and drying others off early is a good strategy, a resulting challenge could be not having enough forage to fill the ration of more dry cows while concurrently increasing the fiber content of the post-peak lactating group. This article discusses delaying small grain harvest; a strategy for increased forage yield during milk production constraints.

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Topics: ANIMAL NUTRITION

FEEDING SALABLE MILK TO YOUNGSTOCK: TIPS, TRICKS, AND FORMULATION ADVICE

Posted by Matthew Sellers, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Marvel, PAS on Apr 22, 2020 2:35:27 PM

The US dairy industry, along with our nation and world, are experiencing unprecedented and extreme challenges related to the current COVID-19 pandemic. While milk volumes are increasing across the nation due to ‘spring flush’, demand for dairy products has dropped significantly. In response, many cooperatives and dairy manufacturers have resorted to dumping milk, decreasing milk purchases, or implementing tiered pricing structures.

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Topics: ANIMAL NUTRITION

DEHORNING: HOW TO MAKE A NECESSARY JOB EASIER WITH LIDOCAINE BLOCKING

Posted by Elizabeth Marvel on Mar 10, 2020 2:11:15 PM

Until polled genetics become more available in the dairy industry, dehorning is a necessary task on the farm.  Dehorning is a painful process; therefore, it is necessary to provide pain management to the calf. Dehorning should be performed prior to eight weeks of age The younger the calf the faster they seem to recover from the procedure.  You can offer pain management by Lidocaine blocking and offering a drug like Meloxicam. Lidocaine and Meloxicam are both very economical choices, just make sure you receive a prescription from your veterinarian.

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Topics: ANIMAL NUTRITION