Animal Plasma Milk Replacer Provides Unique Benefits To Calves

Animal Plasma first appeared in milk replacer about 30 years ago. Today about one-third of all calf milk replacer produced in the U.S. contains plasma. And there are good reasons for its popularity.

Animal plasma contains a unique source of proteins, referred to as functional proteins. These functional proteins are more than just a source of nutrition. They provide specialized functions inside the calf. Plasma contains biologically active proteins such as IgG (immunoglobulin G), which you may recognize as an important component of colostrum. IgG is also an important antibody that circulates in the bloodstream. Other functional proteins found in plasma include growth factors, hormones and immune cells. With all of these specialized proteins, milk replacers formulated with animal plasma actually act more like milk right from the cow when compared to milk replacer made entirely from milk protein sources.

Benefits from feeding animal plasma also occur inside the calf’s digestive tract. During their first two weeks of life, calves take IgG antibodies from their bloodstream and move them directly into the digestive tract. This process helps protect them against pathogens. After two weeks this movement of IgG stops and protection decreases, potentially leaving calves more exposed to pathogens. By providing animal plasma in the calf’s milk replacer you can help boost immunoglobulin levels in the gut for longer protection during this critical stage of life.

In addition to their role in supporting the calf’s immune system, these functional proteins also affect the growth and development of its digestive tract. The presence of plasma inside the gut has beneficial effects on the function and integrity of the small intestine.  Animal plasma increases growth of the intestinal cells responsible for nutrient absorption and may directly inhibit pathogens from attaching to the small intestine, ultimately preventing them from multiplying. Put into a nutshell, plasma improves intestinal growth as well as its barrier function against disease organisms.

And when it comes to calf performance, over 30 research trials document the benefits of animal plasma in calf milk replacer. The unmistakable conclusion is that animal plasma performs at least as well as an all-milk protein milk replacer, and often performs better.

 Keep in mind that if environmental conditions on the farm are very good and calves are not exposed to challenges, then you might not see a measurable advantage to feeding animal plasma. If calves are overwhelmed with challenges, additional action steps beyond milk replacer are likely necessary to remedy the situation to get calves back on track. Animal plasma in milk replacer is most beneficial when calves are exposed to some challenging or stressful situations. Most farms fall into this category.

Calf acceptance and intake is not affected by the inclusion of plasma in their milk replacer. Animal plasma is off-white to light cream in color, with no noticeable aroma and does not affect the taste of milk replacer.

Animal plasma is one of the most research proven, widely used and beneficial components added to calf milk replacers. Suckle Select Calf Milk Replacer from Manna Pro is the product to choose to provide the benefits of animal plasma to your calves.