A NEW range of calf milk replacers that have been performance formulated to give dairy calves the best possible start in life has been introduced by animal nutrition specialist, Volac.

Based on concentrated whey protein, which makes up the majority of the protein fraction of natural cow colostrum, the new milk formulas incorporate high quality ingredients. Whey protein represents 65% of the protein content of colostrum, whereas the other 35% is casein protein. The whey protein content of whole milk is only 20%.

“What we are now able to do is to filter and concentrate up the liquid whey protein fraction of milk and collect the important proteins, fats, sugars and other bioactive components so important for calf programming," said Volac nutritionist Ian Watson.

"The resultant important ingredient, now integral to all our calf milk formulas, is Imunopro – a concentrated whey protein base material packed with the vital amino acids and immunoglobulins so necessary for healthy youngstock growth and development.

“Production of this concentrated whey protein also means we can now ‘precision-formulate’ our milk replacers based on true protein, which involves looking at the crucial limiting amino acids for calves – such as lysine and leucine – just as pig and poultry sector nutritionists have done so effectively in recent years for monogastric species,” he added.

The company makes Imunopro from liquid whey and then formulates in a balanced range of high quality nutrition and health ingredients to meet modern calf development requirements.

The first phase is liquid blending where the Imunopro milk complex is balanced with the necessary additional protein, oils and sugars required to allow calves to hit optimum growth and development targets when fed recommended daily amounts of milk replacer.

The protein is balanced to ensure calves will be fed the optimum amount of true protein in the form of essential amino acids. However, Mr Watson said it is important to appreciate that the crude protein content on the bag label does not give an indication of the useable protein available to the calf.

“The oil is balanced with high quality vegetable fats to mimic the milk fat profile, plus the addition of butyrate (C4:0), which has been shown recently to improve gut health.

“The sugars are also balanced to ensure the final milk replacer product contains the correct energy level to meet accepted target growth rates.

“The fully balanced liquid blend is then spray dried for optimum mixability, palatability and consistency before, finally, the addition of Volac’s proven package of health ingredients plus enhanced levels of vitamins and minerals.”

Four calf milk replacer products make up the new Lifeguard range for UK calf rearers, with each product performance formulated to meet specific growth rate targets:

• High performance Heiferlac, which drives 900g of calf growth per day.

• Blossom High Spec, the considered solution for large herds also looking to achieve 900g of calf growth per day.

• Blossom Easymix, the tried and trusted product to drive 750g of calf growth per day.

• Enerlac, which is specifically designed as a cost-effective solution for beef or mixed enterprises looking for 625g of calf growth per day.

As well as pouring over 40 years of young animal nutrition experience into every bag of milk replacer, Volac also delivers technical support through its ‘Feed for Growth’ calf rearing educational platform and a comprehensive range of calf feeding equipment. The company offers fully computerised feeding systems, as well as more basic set ups allowing farmers the flexibility to choose the optimum system for their particular calf rearing operation.