The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.

A calf is born with a sterile rumen environment void of bacteria, protozoa and fungi. Microbes in the gut populate slowly at first, but speed up over time. This process of developing the calf into a ruminant is one of the main goals of the nursery phase. If a calf consumes more than 0.4 pounds of fat from milk, starter grain intake begins to be suppressed. Therefore, to maximize starter grain intake, a balanced milk feeding program should accompany a quality starter grain.

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