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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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Colostrum is the most important thing a producer can give a newborn calf. Ideally, it should be fed within the first hour of life. What happens during the calf’s first hour of life will have the biggest impact on the animal, even through lactation. It is a critical window that will determine if that calf will live and be a productive member of the dairy.

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Would it surprise you that a critical difference between success and failure in raising calves is the attitude of the people taking care of the calves? How we view the calves and how we view our time are critical to success of the calf operation because they impact calf performance.

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I doubt that anyone would deny we are living in an age of disruption. Successful dairy managers do not just “respond” to the current situation; they anticipate the impact of future “disruptors” and are proactive. Strict adherence to what has been successful in the past may mean “failure” in the future.

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When it comes to ensuring the future success of a dairy operation, raising good replacement animals is essential. One of the most crucial steps in this process is colostrum management.

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The future of a dairy farmer’s herd is dependent on the health and care calves receive as newborns. Ensuring a strong immune system buildup in the first few weeks of life is imperative to the animal’s longevity and overall herd success.

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While there seems to be general agreement on the benefit of having heifers calve at 24 months of age, according to 2014 National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) data, it’s not happening.

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