Refractometer is a multi-functional tool, which allows dairy farmers and calf-care personnel to test three areas of calf rearing:

  1. Quality of Colostrum to determine whether the immunity content is sufficient for first feeding – perhaps the most common use of a refractometer. Test each collection for content of IgG.
  2. Blood Serum Total Protein (BSTP) o determines if the passive immunity transfer from colostrum into the calf’s bloodstream was successful.
  3. Solids in Waste Milk or Milk Replacer to determine if the calves are receiving desired and consistent  nutrition.

How to determine consistent nutrition level

Testing Calf Milk – Adding Balancer
Farms that choose to use waste milk to feed calves reap the benefits of cost saving and passing on their herd’s immunity. The downside is the variability of milk solids from day to day. This problem is easily solved with a Digital Dip Style Refractometer and a milk balancer. Simply test each batch of calf milk with a refractometer to understand what percentage solids is available to you on a given day. Then use a milk balancer to increase the milk solids percentage to a desired level of nutrition. With this method it is easy to increase the plain of nutrition for increased gain or even just seasonally to fight cold stress.

Testing Calf Milk Replacer
Using calf milk replacer is a good option for dairies that don’t have sufficient amount of calf milk or are preventing spread of disease. If mixed properly calf milk replacer can deliver consistency on a desire plain of nutrition. Digital Dip Style Refractometer can be used to test calf milk replacer for a proper reconstitution. Unlike natural cow’s milk, which is all created the same way, milk replacers have different formula. Each manufacturer  has different processes and specifications, so to test total solids  you will need to build your own scale per the Milk Replacers manufactures parameters.  Each manufacturer has a specific mixture ratio for each Make and Model of CMR(Calf Milk Replacer).  So to complete and design your own scale you will need determine the type of CMR(Calf Milk Replacer) and mixing requirements per that manufacture.  Contacting one of the consultants at Golden Calf Company will be better to assist in helping you build your own scale when using it for CMR total solids. Knowing that your calf milk replacer is mixed properly will allow you to reach the consistency you are desiring for your calves.

Either way you feed your calves, they love consistency and will reward you with higher gains if you are providing them with a  consistent percentage of solids each day.