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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.

LATEST

Probiotics aren’t new to the dairy industry. In fact, they’ve been around for a long time. However, with a recent focus on antibiotic use, there’s a renewed interest in feed additives that support calf health. Probiotics are one option.

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Auto-feeder systems face many challenges, including temperature, moisture (humidity), dust, colostrum, genetics, environment and ventilation. Overcoming these challenges is important for raising healthy calves on an auto-feeder.

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Calf diarrhea is a costly, but common problem on today’s dairies. In fact, according to the 2014 NAHMS data, diarrhea was responsible for 56 percent of pre-weaned heifer deaths. In addition, recent research shows that even when calves overcome this disease challenge, there are still negative consequences in the form of reduced first-lactation milk production and increased age at first calving. Thus, preventing diarrhea is essential to raising healthy calves.

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Minimizing heifer-raising costs without sacrificing heifer quality can be a challenge for many dairies. To help shed some light on this, Matt Akins, assistant scientist at the University of Wisconsin, spoke at the 2018 Vita Plus Calf Summit on some opportunities he sees in current heifer-raising practices.

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When it comes to colostrum, its value to the calf cannot be overstated. Most dairymen are well aware that colostrum contains high levels of immunoglobulins that protect calves against diseases present on the farm.

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Building a new calf barn and completely rethinking how to raise calves effectively and efficiently can be a daunting task. At the 2018 Vita Plus Calf Summit, June 20-21, three Wisconsin dairywomen shared their experiences as they tackled this challenge on their farms.

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