Milk Warming Best Practice
Why should we warm calf milk?
As temperatures cool into autumn and through winter, newborn calves lacking the body fat of older calves become particularly susceptible to cold stress. When temperatures fall below 15 degrees calves begin using their own body heat to stay warm which can lead to stress loss of body heat and body weight and condition.
Milk or milk replacer is the most efficient and palatable source of feed for calves.
Feeding milk replacer colder than 38.5°C wastes energy since the calf has to expend calories to warm the milk to body temperature after drinking to effectively process it. Milk replacer at 38.5°C or warmer stimulates closure of the oesophageal groove, preventing milk replacer from entering the rumen and causing digestive disturbances. Both colder and hotter temperatures can also reduce the calf’s willingness to drink.
It is also important to feed calves at the same temperature for every feed to avoid the risk of upsetting digestion. It makes sense that milk warmers and heat exchangers are a handy addition to any farm where calves are being milk-fed to encourage long term optimal health benefits in calf rearing.
Any build-up of milk solids on the heating element of older style non-Teflon coated warmers acts as an insulation barrier to heat transfer when not used correctly. By implementing the use of a heat exchanger with your milk warmer you can efficiently warm milk and prevent the build-up common on older style, non-Teflon coated milk warmers not maintained correctly or used without heat exchangers.
Shoof’s all-stainless Heat Exchanger is filled with warm water and then placed into the full milk container. Occasional stirring will encourage heat efficiency and prevent fat build-up. The heat exchanger heats more slowly than the direct immersion of a milk warmer but saves you time and money by eliminating the tedious clean up and the risk of element failure.
The Heat Exchanger Thermal Cap significantly reduces the time in heating milk and reduces steam and vapour entering the milk warmer electrics almost eliminating condensation failures.
For efficient, convenient and consistent milk and/or milk replacer feeding in your calves, talk to your local Elders store about Shoof’s range of milk warmers, heat exchangers and our new Heat Exchanger Thermal Cap to reduce milk warming times by 25% and raise happy, healthy calves in optimal condition.
Article written by Shoof for the Autumn 2021 edition of Seasons Magazine.
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