Calf Starter


Location: South Dakota University


30, one to three days old, Holstein heifers.
Initial body weights (40.6 and 40.7 kg) for C and MC


Control (C): calf starter containing 40% DM basis (Dry Matter Basis) conventional ground shelled corn
MC: calf starter containing (40%) MC ground shelled corn
Both experimental calf starters were formulated to contain 24% CP on a DM basis,and were fed to ad libitum consumption as a pellet starting on day 1.

Body weights and body measurements were collected weekly.

All calves were also fed a 28 (CP): 18% fat accelerated milk replacer 2x/day at the rate of .68kg/d up to 10 days, 1.02 kg/d from 11 to 35 d, and fed 1x/d at .51kg/d from 35 to 42 d.


Final body weights (64.5 and 66.7 kg) were numerically greater for calves fed the MC calf starter.

Body weight gains (23.9 and 26.0 kg) and average daily gains (0.68 and 0.74 kg/d) were similar, but numerically greater for the calves fed MC calf starter.

Calf Starter Trial

Recorded Data lbs.
Beginning Weights
Total Gain
Ending Weights (42d)

The early days in a calf’s life is a time when it is undergoing substantial developmental changes and is directly linked to future productivity levels.
From Cornell, Dr. Mike Van Amburg’s research on “Early Life Management and Long-term Productivity of Dairy Cattle”, he observed: “…increased nutrient intake prior to 56 days of life resulted in an increased milk yield during the first lactation that ranged from 1,000 to 3,000 additional pounds compared to restricted fed calves during the same period.” He explained that,”20% of the variation in the first milk lactation could be explained by growth rate to weaning.”

Any increase in weight gain or ADG from birth to weaning can significantly increase the productivity of the calves later in life.

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