The importance of starter feed intake remains undervalued, whereas that of milk or milk replacer is overemphasized at the expense of efficiency and long-term performance.
Young dairy heifers are reared intensively to become efficient, high-yielding replacement cows. For that, research has demonstrated that pre-weaning performance is crucial to their lifetime performance. For instance, the industry now accepts that for each extra 100 grams/day growth before weaning, first-parity cows yield 150 kg of extra milk. The question, then, becomes how to increase pre-weaning growth.