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Calves & Heifers

The future of your herd depends on quality colostrum, milk or replacer feeding and disease control along with proper bedding, sanitation and ventilation.

LATEST

The crude protein (CP) concentrations and sources used in calf starters and growers are frequently questioned and debated today. Thirty-five (or more) years ago when the understanding of rumen-degradable and undegradable protein was developing, many nutritionists started adding sources of undegradable protein to calf starters and growers, beginning this discussion.

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Every day, we make hundreds of decisions. Some are big, while some appear minor and without a significant future impact. Colostrum handling is one of those processes that falsely appears to only have short-term consequences.

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Amino acids are the building blocks that make up protein, and the actual nutrients that calves require. However, dairy calf nutrition is behind the curve with respect to embracing precise diet formulation by balancing for these key nutrients. Today, most milk replacers for calves are formulated and scrutinized based only on crude protein (CP) content, a number that doesn’t give us any real measure of the true building blocks the calves need: the amino acids.

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How much does it really cost you to feed a dairy heifer from birth to freshening? Find out for yourself with a newly updated spreadsheet tool that makes it easy to determine just how much money it takes to do it.

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Future production success begins as early as the first day of a calf’s life. This is especially true when looking at the functionality of a calf’s immune system. Supplementing specific, functional fatty acids has proven beneficial to one-week-old calves’ immune systems, growth, and performance.

When calves are born, their immune system is not fully developed and depends upon colostrum antibodies to develop immune function. The most recent USDA NAHMS survey has attributed the leading causes of calf loss to gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases.

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High-quality nutrition isn’t just a goal to shoot for in your calf-feeding program; it’s a necessity when it comes to raising healthy, productive calves.

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