Raising Replacement Heifers with Blueprint
By Ellan Dufor, M.S., Hubbard Feeds, Reprinted with Permission.
When it comes to raising great replacement heifers, our goal is simple: maximize performance while supporting optimal calf health. Research shows, time and time again, that keeping calves healthy in the pre-weaning phase sets them up for improved growth, smooth transitions, reduced breeding services, younger age at first calving and increased milk production. In other words, the road to long-term dairy success starts when the newborn calf takes her first breath.
A calf’s gut microbiota and overall gut health are the main drivers of performance and productivity. Not only does a consistently healthy gut set the calf up for lifelong success, but it also improves general performance by encouraging early starter intakes, leading to improved rumen development and an overall stronger and healthier animal. Through collaboration with Alltech, Hubbard Feeds has launched the Blueprint® Dairy Calf and Heifer Program, using an integrated approach to maximize calf health and performance in the first two months of life. With the highest-quality ingredients, including Alltech’s organic trace minerals, Blueprint is designed with your future in mind.
Research on the Blueprint Dairy Calf and Heifer Program is plentiful and has demonstrated, both in research and commercial farm settings, that feeding a complete Blueprint program from birth leads to significant performance and health benefits for replacement heifers. In the first two months of life, dairy heifer calves fed the Blueprint program have demonstrated:
- 17% improvement in calf starter intake (Ziegler et al., 2020)
- 12% improvement in average daily gain (Ziegler et al., 2020)
- 12% improvement in hip height gain (Ziegler et al., 2020)
- 70% decrease in treatment costs (Dufour et al., 2021)
Dairy heifers fed the Blueprint program not only have improved performance and health in calfhood but also demonstrate long-term benefits through the first lactation when kept on the Blueprint plane of nutrition. Research from Pennsylvania State University (Pino et al., 2017) reported heifer calves supplemented with Blueprint from birth produced 1,140 lbs. more milk in their first lactation compared to those dairy heifers supplemented with a conventional nutrition program from birth. Additionally, this study reported an effect of maternal nutrition, where dams fed a Blueprint program produced heifers that calved 26 days earlier compared to calves born from dams on a conventional nutrition program. Blueprint allows calves to reach both their short- and long-term genetic potential when provided as a total nutrition program, from pre-birth through lactation.
The Blueprint Dairy Calf and Heifer Program is a first-of-its-kind nutrition program designed to allow calves to reach their genetic potential and enhance digestion and nutrient intake while promoting natural defenses. Formulated with high-quality ingredients for targeted nutrition, the Blueprint Dairy Calf and Heifer Program is undeniably the easiest decision you will make in your calf-rearing operation to set your herd up for lifelong success. Find out more at www.hubbardfeeds.com/brand/blueprint