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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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There are many topics to discuss when managing heifer inventory. Producers give careful thought to feed and labor costs, reproduction, semen strategies, etc. – the list can go on and on.

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How does one know when to breed virgin heifers? On many dairies, the decision is entirely subjective based on if the heifers look “big” enough, reach a certain age, or the pen is getting crowded and they need to move on.

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Raising replacement heifers is the second-greatest cost on a dairy farm, and these animals will dictate the future success of the enterprise. To ensure future productive success, many considerations should be evaluated in terms of the liquid diet fed to young pre-weaned calves, especially when the liquid diet consists of whole or waste milk.

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At the beginning of 2020, AABP updated its production practice guidelines for dehorning calves, and one of the significant updates was a recommendation for pain mitigation.

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Dairy producers are working to raise both the optimal number and the highest-quality heifers for their operations. Developing replacement heifers is a significant and necessary expenditure for dairies, requiring an investment of $1,800 to $2,200 per head to get them to the start of first lactation.

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Disbudding without pain control is painful! All methods work by removing or damaging horn-producing tissue, and all methods have been shown to cause pain when done without appropriate pain control.

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