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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Dairy Science

First Advisor

David Casper


In recent years, it has become more expensive to develop the young dairy heifer because there is a huge demand from the human market for whey proteins. As whey protein costs continue to increase, there has been a renewed interest in feeding a moderate level of crude protein (CP) in milk replacer (MR). Feeding higher CP MR with lower fat concentrations at higher feeding rates (FR) has been shown to increase calf growth performance before weaning, but decreases calf growth performance in the postweaning period. If calf starter (CS) intake could be maintained during transition from preweaning to post-weaning the growth performance of calves could be improved. In the first study, MR FR had a greater influence on calf growth performance than CP. In the second study, feeding calves a 24% CP and 20% fat MR at rates greater than 0.68 kg/d inhibited CS intake to reduce calf growth performance. In the third study, feeding calves a 24% CP and 20% fat MR at 0.68 kg/d maintained CS intake, which resulted in improved growth performance compared to calves fed a similar or higher CP and lower fat concentrations. The recommendation from this research program would be to implement feeding a 24:20 MR at a moderate FR to maintain CS intake to achieve enhance growth performance in the pre- and post-weaning periods. Future research projects should focus on the development of grower programs to maintain the growth advantages achieved in the MR and CS feeding phase.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Calves -- Growth
Calves -- Feeding and feeds
Dairy cattle


Includes bibliographical references (pages 89-96)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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