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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.

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Replacement heifers are critical to the longevity and sustainability of dairy operations. Special attention should be paid to rearing calves, as many aspects influence lifelong health and future productivity, including maternal factors during gestation, colostrum management, nutrition, vaccination program, housing and environmental conditions.

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Is it okay for the grain bucket to be empty? Before I answer that question, let us go over the importance of starter intake for pre-weaned calves.

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Necropsies can be an extremely valuable tool in diagnosing herd health problems. Before you begin, review the calf’s history:

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Being a part of the dairy industry is a fulfilling and rewarding privilege, but it can also be an unpredictable journey. Milk prices are constantly fluctuating, and it can make budget evaluation difficult. For this reason, we pose a simple question: What should producers be feeding their calves from an economic standpoint?

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The U.S. calf mortality rate is 6% to 8% (7.8%, USDA, 2007; 8.1%, USDA, 2010; 6%, USDA, 2017), inclusive of all housing types. According to Dairy Calf and Heifer Association Gold Standards, the target mortality rate from 24 hours old to 60 days old is 3% or less.

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Fat is an energy-dense nutrient that is a major component in calf milk replacers (MRs) and dry feeds. Over the last 15-plus years, there have been an array of studies looking at MR formulas with different crude-protein-to-fat ratios.

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