More than 220 dairy producers gathered in St. Louis, Missouri, in April for the Calf and Heifer VIP program, hosted by Purina Animal Nutrition.
This year’s attendees represented 121 dairy farms and more than 86,000 calves and heifers.
Attendees had the chance to learn about a wealth of topics ranging from newborn calf diseases, calf ventilation and housing, colostrum and electrolyte feeding to strategies to control flies on farm.
Attendees also had the opportunity to hear first-hand from three producers about their successes in calf raising.
Sharing insights on calf raising practices, the panel consisted of Laura Finger, Finger Family Farm in Oconto, Wisconsin, Greg Ziegler, Ziegler Dairy Farms in Middleton, Wisconsin, and Mike Larson, Larson Acres in Evansville, Wisconsin.
Finger, Ziegler and Larson shared their experiences feeding calves to a high
er plane of nutrition and how that resulted in supported calf health and improved growth. Other strategies adapted by the panelists include automated feeders and feeding three times per day.
“Each year our goal is to provide a forum for calf managers and dairy producers to exchange ideas, insights and management expertise about calf and heifer nutrition, and overall calf management,” says Dr. Dari Brown, director livestock young animal marketing with Purina Animal Nutrition LLC.
Hands-on demonstrations led by Purina Animal Nutrition’s regional calf and heifer specialists rounded out this year’s event. PD
—From Purina Animal Nutrition LLC news release
TOP RIGHT: Gary Geisler, dairy calf and heifer specialist with Purina Animal Nutrition, recently lead a hands-on demonstration at the 2013 Calf and Heifer VIP event. Geisler suggested attendees evaluate the openings of their calf nipples. If the nipples are open too large calves can aspirate milk which can cause pneumonia.
MIDDLE RIGHT: Research continues to show that the growth of rumen papillae is directly correlated with what the calf eats in the first few weeks of life. Dr. Dari Brown, director livestock young animal marketing with Purina Animal Nutrition LLC, discussed the latest research on rumen development with attendees at the 2013 Calf and Heifer VIP event. Photos courtesy of Purina Animal Nutrition.