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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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Currently, producers throughout the U.S. may be asked to either dump loads of milk or reduce production as dairy markets respond to decreased demand for dairy products caused by changes in the restaurant trade. This is a challenging proposition with few totally “right” answers.

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A common goal of any dairy farmer is to grow healthy calves that can express their full genetic potential in the parlor. But, for all calves to become high-producing cows, they must have a successful transition from a milk-based diet to a grain and forage-based diet.

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Scours – it’s an unwelcome but far too common problem on many dairies today. Thanks to education and development of new products, tremendous strides have been made in reducing the severity and number of calves lost due to the main causes of calf scours.

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Conventional wisdom has told us we should house dairy calves individually to prevent nose-to-nose contact and control spread of disease. Calf hutches have been viewed as the “gold standard” for calf raising.

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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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