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Give Your Calves The Best Start With Prime Elite 25 Plus Milk Replacer

Give Your Calves The Best Start With Prime Elite 25 Plus Milk Replacer

By Rebecca O’Sullivan

Whether from the dairy herd or the suckler herd, a good start is essential for calves. Correct and timely management of the nutritional needs of your calves ensures maximum growth weights are achieved and healthy calves are reared.

Your new-born calves are born without immunity to disease, and colostrum contains high levels of antibodies which build immunity as well as being a very nutritious feed. According to Animal Health Ireland, 35% of calves that die in the first year of life do so because of inadequate Colostrum absorption! Colostrum should be fed for the first two to three days of life. Later milkings contain much lower levels of these antibodies and your calves’ ability to absorb antibodies decreases dramatically within hours of birth and is virtually zero after 24 hours.

Fresh colostrum from the dam is the preferred option in the majority of cases and pooling of colostrum is not recommended due to the risk of spreading disease on your farm e.g. Johne’s disease.


Colostrum feeding can be summarised by the AHI 1,2,3 recommendation:



1.      Use colostrum from the first milking for the first feed. 



2.      Give colostrum within two hours of the calf’s birth. 



3.      Give at least three litres. 



Your calves should then move on to a high-quality milk replacer and be fed twice daily, ideally at 38 degrees Celsius to ensure your calves continue to thrive.

Successful rearing of your calves requires unrestricted access to:

  • Clean water (in addition to feeding whole milk / milk replacer)
  • Fresh, palatable starter concentrate (preferably coarse) e.g. Prime Elite Krispi Kaf
  • Straw


Straw NOT Hay

Calves should be fed straw as opposed to hay. High intakes of hay can decrease concentrate intake, limiting butyric acid production, and lead to the calves developing “hay/pot bellies”. The level of straw required will depend on the physical structure of the concentrate, with finely ground rations needing more.

Hay is NOT recommended for calves.


Whole Milk v’s Milk Replacer

Milk replacer offers several advantages over whole milk as a feeding strategy for your calves:



Cost/Bag (€)



Cost (c/ltr)



Cost to wean (€)



Milk Replacer












Whole Milk








Costs assume 6 ltrs of CMR at 12.5% solids for 56 days vs 6 ltrs of whole milk for 6 days

Earlier Weaning:

  • Whey milk proteins stimulate earlier concentrate feed intake.
  • Calves reach a daily concentrate feed intake suitable for weaning earlier.


Better Performance / Less Scour:

  • Consistent Milk replacer composition reduces the risk of nutritional scour. Cows milk butterfat and protein % change between morning and evening milking.
  • Digestarom, blend of essential oils boost the calf immunity to scours and increases LWG.
  • Acidification in milk replacer improves digestion and reduces scour.
  • Gardion Plant extract (alliin) – Helps reduce colonisation by pathogenic bacteria.
  • Elevated Vitamin E and Selenium – promote the calf’s natural defences (immunity) with improved antioxidant levels, helping it to fight disease.


Reduces Johne’s Disease Risk:

  • Reduce Johne’s Disease transfer risk from feeding cow’s milk to heifers.


Labour Saving:

  • Earlier weaning is facilitated


More About Imunopro:

Imunopro is the base of the Prime Elite range of Milk Replacer. This highly nutritious bioactive complex is a result of Volac’s unique ultrafiltration process, which is a combination of filtration, evaporation and gently sorting milk constituents, proteins, fats and sugars, that are collected at low temperatures from whey. When compared with milk, skim and whey, Imunopro:

  • Has significantly higher levels of key proteins such as lycine and leucine
  • Immunipro has three times the level of IgG, a vital immunoglobulin for early life immune development
  • Also has elevated levels of lactoferrins which play a critical role in the reduction of scour in calves
  • Concentrates 16 times the amount of milk fat. Much of the fat in milk is found in a complex containing special components called phospholipids and sphingolipids which support calf gut maturation and have anti-bacterial properties. They are essential nutrients for health and growth.
  • Has elevated levels of the complex sugars called oligosaccharides. Research continues to establish the important role these sugars play in steering the development of a healthy population of bacteria in the new-born gut in both farm animals and humans.
  • Has butyrate, a fatty acid, which improves nutrient absorption and reduces the risk of scours

The careful balancing of fats, sugars and proteins is done in liquid blend, which ensures that when the product is dried it has a superior homogenised quality with un-denatured whey proteins and natural ‘globular’ proteins retained together in a small fat globule size to support healthy growth and high digestibility levels.

Prime Elite 25 Plus Milk Replacer:

Feature:Benefit to You:
Imunopro:High levels of immunoglobulins and complex sugars to promote healthy calves, a healthy gut and reduced scours.
Gardion:Enhances function of immune system and improves gut health
Superior Mixability:Easy to mix in cold water. This is important for automated feeders –mixes at 40⁰C and feeds out at 38⁰C
Increased Vitamins and Minerals Levels:Higher inclusion rates to match calf requirements
Digestarom:Inclusion of Digestarom – (of plant origin) results in decreased scouring and scour severity, Increased milk replacer intake & starter feed intake resulting in increased weight gain & improved efficiency.

Shop our range of Milk Replacers here and avail of convenient home delivery.

Branch Workshops:

For any more information on the Prime Elite Milk Replacer range or any queries about mixing rates and maximising your calves’ performance, come along to our Milk Replacer Workshops this February from 10am to 1pm, across a number of our stores and meet our Milk Replacer Specialist, Rebecca O’Sullivan.

The Dates and Locations are as follows:

  • Monday 29th Jan – Co -Op Superstores Mogeely
  • Thursday 01st Feb –Co-Op Superstores Mitchelstown
  • Friday 02nd Feb – Co-Op Superstores Mallow
  • Monday 05th Feb – Co-Op Superstores Carrigaline
  • Tuesday 06th Feb – Co-Op Superstores Coachford
  • Wednesday 07th Feb – Co-Op Superstores Garryspillane
  • Thursday 08th Feb – Co -Op Superstores Clondrohid
  • Friday 09th Feb – Co -Op Superstores Rathduff
  • Monday 12th Feb – Co -Op Superstores Cahir