Abstract #T199

# T199
Effects of previous milk replacer feeding program on calf performance and digestion through 4 months of age.
T. S. Dennis*1, F. X. Suarez-Mena1, T. M. Hill1, J. D. Quigley1, W. Hu1, R. L. Schlotterbeck1, 1Nurture Research Center, Provimi North America, Brookville, OH.

The objectives of this study were to evaluate performance and diet digestibility post-weaning of calves previously fed moderate (MOD) or high (HIGH) milk replacer (MR) feeding programs and weaned at 2 ages. Male Holstein calves (n = 96; 79 ± 1.3 kg of BW) were previously fed a common MR (25% CP, 17% fat on DM basis) using 4 feeding programs. Program MOD6 was 0.66 kg/d MR weaned at 42 d, HIGH6 was up to 1.09 kg/d MR weaned at 42 d, HIGH8 was up to 1.09 kg/d MR weaned at 53 d, and GRAD8 was up to 1.09 kg/d and gradually weaned from d 35 to 53. Calves were grouped by MR program (4 calves/pen) at 56 d of age and fed a common diet with 95% textured starter (20% CP, 37% starch on DM basis) and 5% chopped grass hay (7% CP, 64% NDF). Calf BW, hip widths (HW), and body condition scores (BCS) were measured on d 56, 84, and 112 of age. Fecal samples were collected from d 80–84 and 108–112 from each pen floor and composited by pen to estimate diet digestibility coefficients (dC) using acid-insoluble ash. Data were analyzed as a randomized complete block design with repeated measures. Pre-planned contrasts of MOD6 vs. others, HIGH6 vs. HIGH8, and HIGH8 vs. STEP8 were used to separate the means. Prior to beginning this study, ADG was greatest for HIGH8 and GRAD8 but frame growth was similar among treatments. Final BW were similar among treatments, but calves fed MOD6 gained 0.6 cm more HW vs. other treatments (P = 0.01). Calves fed MOD6 had greater ADG (P = 0.01) and tended to be 9% more feed efficient (P = 0.07) vs. other treatments as DM intakes were similar. At 84 d, dC of DM, OM, CP, NDF, ADF, and fat were greatest for calves fed MOD6 (P ≤ 0.05). Additionally, calves fed HIGH6 and GRAD8 had greater dC of NDF and ADF compared with HIGH8 (P ≤ 0.05) at 84 d. At 112 d, dC were similar among treatments with the exception of starch which was least for calves fed GRAD8 (P < 0.01). In this study, calves previously fed a MOD MR rate gained more BW and frame post-weaning to 112 d of age, likely due to improved diet digestibility. Additionally, gradually weaning calves fed a HIGH MR rate can improve fiber digestibility post-weaning.

Key Words: calf, post-weaning, digestion