A new generation of follow-on calf milks for dairy and beef are helping farmers improve performance in a more efficient, profitable and sustainable way.

At the core of this, are formulations with a more precise balance of amino acids than has been seen in the past.

Cargill has identified the exact amino acids and the amounts needed in follow-on calf milks for calves to achieve best performance.

It has used this knowledge to formulate improved milks.

“It’s not about the crude protein content, as this value does not give any indication of the nutritional value of the proteins included,” said Cargill’s youngstock specialist Bianca Theeruth.

“The value of each protein depends on the composition of amino acids – or building blocks – it’s formed from. The crude protein level provided in some calf milks do not provide amino acids in the quantities calves require.”

More detailed knowledge of the calf’s amino acids requirements is a major step forward in calf-milk formulations.

“It has enabled us to develop calf milk replacers that are formulated with lower protein content, but with a more precise balance of amino acids that gives the same performance,” she added.

“And it’s a win-win. Lower crude protein contents, with fewer of the amino acids that are not needed means less waste – a reduction of excess nitrogen into the environment.”

Another development in this latest generation of milk replacers is the fatty acid content.

“Each fatty acid has a specific role to play, and a combination of them will promote gut health and immunity, bone growth, metabolism and organ development,” Theeruth said.

“These packages, which can include postbiotics with metabolites and bioactive compounds, have a positive effect on rumen and intestinal development, as well as on the immune response that helps calves cope with disease challenges during the first few weeks of life.

“And, the strategic use of feed additives to improve health and resilience on farm can support the drive to reduce the use of antimicrobials on farm.”

The NeoMilk range

Developed by Cargill, this new NeoMilk range is made up of three milks, two of which are available as whey or skim-based – and, they all include specialist feed additives to support gut health.

NeoMilk Prime is a whey-based milk designed for beef calves where daily weight gain is the priority.

Neomilk Boost and NeoMilk Beyond formulations, both available as whey or skim-based milks, are designed for rearing dairy replacements where both lean growth and weight gain is important.

NeoMilk Boost targets daily growth rates of between 750g and 850g, and suits systems with few disease and health challenges. 

NeoMilk Beyond has the highest ingredient specification and it is designed for rearing heifer calves where daily growth rates of between 900g and 1.1kg are targeted.

This milk includes a postbiotic that offers extra support for the immune system. So it is suited to rearing bought-in dairy calves and for systems where additional protection from disease and health challenges is required.

For more information on NeoMilk and to find out which one is right for your system, click here.