Research and

Breeding Heifers


The profitability of a dairy farm can be significantly impacted by how much and how fast its heifers develop. For some years now, we've been talking about accelerated development to maximize lean tissue growth in replacement heifers. Todd Steen, nutrition expert with the Tennessee Farmers Co-op, recently asserted that there were other options available to achieve accelerated weight gain: The concept of TCR (Total Calf Ration). Created and developed by the CRF (Cooperative Research Farms) network, this product, as we know it, is called Totalveau™. Since 1975, the concept has been a part of several research projects focused on the breeding dairy heifers. What makes Totalveau™ distinct is that it represents one full ration and replaces traditional feed and fodder.

When visiting Quebec to meet with La Coop network’s expert-consultants, Todd Steen stressed the economic importance of early calving and optimum development. How can this be achieved? Concentrate on rapid growth at a very young age. “Young calves develop much more efficiently than year-old heifers or serviced heifers. A small difference in feed quality can translate into much higher weight gain, said Steen. The quality of fodder fed to replacement heifers is often lacking.” That is why the Totalveau concept, launched here in 1996, has a competitive edge when comparing rumen development of eight-week-old heifers in terms of ingestion capacity as well as ruminal papillae quality. “Weight gain of 1 kg per day is possible and can be maintained, as can a first calving before 24 months of age and at a heavier weight, over 625 kg,” affirms Todd Steen, animal nutritionist.

The Totalveau concept is simple and efficient for farms in which heifers are raised in a herd. With a single type of feed supplied without restraint, competition at the feed bunk is no longer an issue: Even the smallest heifers find a way of getting enough to eat and enjoy proper development.  This concept makes breeding and raising heifers that much easier.

Conditions for success:
• Unrestrained access to Totalveau
• Unrestrained access to fresh water

Because the product is in cube form, Totalveau is also the perfect replacement solution to feed with added molasses since it won’t freeze and harden in cold weather. This means the young calf always has access to feed and can feed at any time. Another plus for calves raised outside is that the product attracts significantly less flies and birds in the summer since it is molasses-free.

Totalveau is a unique nutrient – in every sense of the word. There have been over 25 research projects throughout the years that have helped perfect the product’s formulation. You can rest assured that the product you are feeding your heifers meets every one of their nutritional needs and will provide excellent results. This year, as hay reserves disappear quickly, Totalveau remains a very interesting option allowing you to keep your highest quality hay for lactating cows.

Thanks to its involvement in research and development, La Coop network can provide you with products and concepts that maximize the performance and cost-efficiency of your operations. For more information, consult your expert-consultant.

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