I have had the great opportunity to work professionally in a variety of positions including private practice veterinarian, extension veterinarian, and tech service nutritionist for a major feed company.
With the expansion of the size of individual dairy farms feeding waste milk from treated cows to bottle calves has become more common. Waste milk has the potential to have approximately 30% fat and 25-27% protein on a dry matter basis and therefore has the potential to provide a higher plane of nutrition than traditional 20% protein, 20% fat milk replacers.
Milk fat depression is a common finding of veterinarians and nutritionists on dairy farms, especially during the warmer summer months. Troubleshooting cases of milk fat depression can be challenging as often there are a number of causes that are contributing to the problem.
In the words of H.D. Hoard, "... this is the Home of Mothers. Treat each cow as a Mother should be treated." We need to take this thought to heart as we think about how we should treat the new moms and moms-to-be on our dairy farms. These cows are at great risk due to the great physiologic, metabolic, and management changes they go through in a relatively short time period.
Intensive milk or milk replacer programs, also known as accelerated growth programs, enhanced growth programs, or perhaps most properly biologically appropriate feeding programs have had a great influence on bottle calf nutrition programs on U.S. dairies in the past 10 years.
Providing properly balanced and successful dairy rations can be a challenging job. One must track a large number of nutrients and make sure that they present in adequate levels yet not in excess where they can lead to reduced performance or animal health.
There are many ways to feed a transition dairy cow, specifically a prefresh cow. They include low-energy, high-forage diets that are identical to the diet fed far-off dry cows, the far-off dry cow ration with additional additives such as anionic salts or rumen-protected choline, or a separate prefresh ration with an energy level intermediate between the far-off dry cow ration and the fresh cow diet.