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Monitor your pasteurized milk feeding system

Quick Facts

With proper management and monitoring, you can consistently deliver a clean, high quality milk diet to your calves, and maximize the benefits captured from your pasteurized milk feeding program.

For best results:

  • Create a standard operation procedure (SOP).
  • Train farm staff in implementing these SOPs.
  • Implement a routine monitoring program.

Benefits of feeding calves whole milk

  • Feeding calves non-saleable (hospital) milk or saleable tank milk can allow producers to capture important growth, health and economic benefits, as compared to conventional milk replacer feeding programs. 
  • Improvements in average daily gain in the preweaning period have been associated with significant improvements in first and second lactation milk production.
  • Other benefits of providing a high plane of nutrition from whole milk can include improved immune function and health.

Beware of disease-causing bacteria

Despite the tremendous benefits that whole milk diets can offer, feeding raw milk may expose calves to infectious agents, such as the one that causes Johne's disease (Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis), as well as Salmonella, Mycoplasma and E. coli.

However, these risks can be largely addressed by adopting commercial on-farm pasteurization systems.

While many farms achieve excellent results feeding pasteurized milk, producers must remember that, if not properly managed and monitored, these systems can suffer from problems like variation in milk nutrient composition or inadequate pasteurization.

Managing the pasteurized milk feeding system

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Sandra Godden, DVM, College of Veterinary Medicine

Reviewed in 2019

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