A Calf Milk Replacer (CMR) can be skim- or whey-based. The protein in skim-based CMR is casein. In whey-based CMR the protein sources are albumin and globulin. The choice of CMR type will largely depend on the rearing system and producer’s system and objectives.

A skim-based CMR includes a high proportion of skim ingredients originating from milk processing, for example:

  • Whole milk powder
  • Skim milk powder
  • Butter milk powder
  • Casein fat-filled milk powder

These are all classified as skim milk powder on the CMR label.

In whey-based CMR the protein sources are albumin and globulin. The choice of CMR type will largely depend on the rearing system and producer’s system and objective.

A whey-based CMR includes whey ingredients originating from whey processing, for example:

  • Whey powder
  • Delactosed whey
  • Whey permeate
  • Whey protein concentrate

These are all classified as whey milk powder on the CMR label.

Helping provide calves with the zest for life.

  1. A good clot will form when using a good quality skim, in the right quantity.

The difference: Both skim- and whey-based calf milk replacers include the
required amount of amino acids to meet the calf’s requirement
and there should be no difference in performance. The key
difference is that the casein in skim-based CMR coagulates
in the abomasum forming a clot/curd, whereas the albumin
and globulin in whey-based CMR remain as a liquid in the
abomasum.

2. Clot formation will be poor if skim quantity is low, and/or quality is not good.

Skim-based CMR
The casein in skim-based CMR coagulates in the abomasum.
It forms a curd that is slowly digested in the abomasum for approximately six hours. Nutrients are slowly released from the abomasum into the small intestine. A minimum skim content is required in a skim-based CMR, as casein curd formation is highly dependent on the quantity and quality of skim milk powder. A skim-based CMR product with a minimum skim content of 18%, as shown. Picture 1 is an ideal clot. Picture 2 is a poor clot and can be related to skim quantity and/or quality.

Whey-based CMR
The albumin and globulin in whey-based CMR do not form a clot in the abomasum. They remain as a liquid in the abomasum for a shorter time; between one and two hours, before moving to the small intestine for further digestion and nutrient utilisation.

Which is best for my system?

A skim-based product may suit:

  • Producers preferring to feed a milk akin to maternal whole milk.
  • Producers requiring calves with a visible ‘bloom’, which may be desirable if selling calves at two to three weeks old.
  •  In less-than-ideal rearing situations, for example where there are environmental, management and sanitary challenges, or loose manure due to digestive problems.

A whey-based product may suit:

  •  Where a lower cost CMR is required.
  •  In an ideal environment with few management, hygiene and disease challenges.
  •  Combined dairy and beef rearing systems

For the BEST ADVICE on the most suitable calf milk replacer for your system contact us.