Ask the Expert: Should I Fortify Pasteurized Milk? – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

Posted on December 20, 2013 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator

Q:  We pasteurize our waste milk from treated and high-somatic-cell-count cows.  I was wondering if milk replacer has a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals compared to pasteurized milk.  If feeding pasteurized milk, do we need to fortify the milk with added vitamins and minerals for the first few weeks of life until they start eating grain regularly?

A:  You are absolutely correct that milk replacer is fortified with vitamins and minerals.  Milk is naturally low in some vitamins and minerals essential to calves.  That means that, until the calf starts eating grain regularly, it is deprived of these nutrients.

Research shows that fortifying waste milk with vitamins and minerals will help support health and weight gain.  I work with many dairies that add a vitamin pack post-pasteurization.  Many use it for the entire time the calf is on milk as it is easier to mix into the load and feed.  If you have the option of feeding a small number of animals, I would recommend adding the vitamin pack for the first three weeks or until the calves are eating grain regularly.

For more information, check out Dave Wood’s article in this edition of Starting Strong as he explains the vitamin requirements for a dairy calf.

Thanks to Karen in Minnesota for submitting this edition’s Ask the Expert question.  As a thank you, Karen received a Vita Plus Calf Care Kit.  Email us to submit your question and earn a $100 gift card if your question is selected for a future edition of Starting Strong.

Category: Calf and heifer nutrition
Starting Strong - Calf Care