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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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The dairy industry has known for years how important it is to provide supplemental cooling to dry cows (Figure 1).

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Throughout 2018, the Northern New York Regional Ag team conducted research to determine protocol compliance for calfhood illnesses on Northern New York dairy farms, determine the treatment cost associated with calfhood illness and to bring awareness to antibiotic stewardship to increase consumer confidence in our food supply.

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Electrolytes are a staple of successful calf-raising. If we were to make a list of necessities for raising healthy calves, electrolytes would be on it. 

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Capturing calf growth potential is one of the greatest benefits of automatic calf feeders. But by the time weaning comes around, we tend to take our eyes off the ball in a hurry to move calves out the door.

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Raising healthy heifers is a key component to making sure that future herds are high-production. Poor growth in young calves strongly impacts subsequent milk production. As such, even during a busy calving period, calves should not be forgotten. There are four crucial areas to look at when rearing healthy heifers:

  • Colostrum
  • Early nutrition
  • Rumen development
  • Environment

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Colostrum, milk and milk replacers are all excellent sources of nutrients for calves, but also for bacteria. 

Jenn Bentley of Iowa State University Extension says when that abundance of nutrients is combined with moisture, you have the key elements for bacterial proliferation, which can be detrimental to your calves’ health.

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