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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 virtues of colostrum in successful calf raising cannot be overemphasized. This “liquid gold” not only delivers critical immune protection but also provides specialized nutrients, energy, fluid and warmth to newborn calves.

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The latest USDA National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) study results show dairy producers are doing a better job of colostrum management (see related story NAHMS Diary 2014: Producers making progress on pre-weaned calf management).

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While sexed semen is often cited as the reason for the increased number of available dairy replacement heifers, another factor is helping create a larger pool of next-generation milk producers: U.S. dairy farmers are doing a better job keeping heifer calves alive and getting them off to a healthy start.

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When Robert Gervais, founder of Gervais Family Farm in Bakersfield, Vermont, bought the original farm in 1960, his wife, Gisele, was seven months pregnant and he had to borrow $10 for the lawyer’s fee and a down payment on the then-220-acre, 35-cow tiestall dairy.

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From the perspective of an A.I. company, the strategic breeding and genetic decisions you make today have a huge impact on the profitability and bottom line of your future milking herd. However, it’s important to remember that the only way to realize the maximum benefits and effects of the genetics you use is to maintain top-notch, progressive, strategic management practices.

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In the current economic state of the industry, there is an understandable need to hunker down and tread water until milk prices and margins start trending in a positive direction.

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