Current Progressive Dairy digital edition
Advertisement
breadcrumbs

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

Efficient heifer growth that leads to bigger heifers at an earlier age can maximize profitability on your dairy operation. The key is making sure your heifers don’t just gain weight, but achieve their genetic potential for ideal height, weight and girth so they reach breeding age earlier and enter the milking string sooner. This leads to substantial profit potential in a variety of ways.

Most progressive dairy producers already strive to calve heifers between 22 and 24 months to pay back heifer rearing costs earlier. The economics explain why.

Read more ...

The goals of a dairy replacement management program are to rear heifers at a low economic and environmental cost without compromising future lactation performance. To meet these objectives, bred heifers are commonly fed diets containing low-cost, high-fiber forages which meet the low energy requirement of bred replacement heifers. Feeding bred heifers low-energy, high-fiber forages also helps minimize overconditioning at calving, which can be detrimental to lactation performance.

Read more ...

Raising replacement heifers is often looked upon as a major cost on the farm without a return on the investment until the animal begins its first lactation. As a result, heifers are often fed the cheapest feed available with minimum inputs on facilities and labor until they approach the time of calving. Efforts to improve management and nutrition of the dairy replacement heifer, in order to decrease the age at first calving, have been labeled as an “accelerated heifer growth program.”

Read more ...

Replacements are an investment in the future of a dairy, and they are significant, often representing 15 to 20 percent of the total cost of milk production, which is second only to dairy feed costs. The likelihood of a positive payoff on those investments is dramatically improved when the management team has a system in place that generates quality heifers.

Read more ...

Most calf deaths are attributed to infectious disease such as scours, septicemia, pneumonia. However, non-infectious problems cause most of the losses in the first two to three days, and these problems greatly increase the risk of later infectious disease problems, if they do not kill the calf right away. Management practices aimed at identifying and resolving these early problems are the most direct and cost-effective way to improve calf health.

Read more ...

Imagine a dairy cow that gave 15,000 liters (33,000 pounds) of high-quality milk year after year after year at a high level of efficiency, a cow whose milk had health benefits for the consumer, a cow that got in calf when you wanted her to; a cow that was highly resistant to infections such as mastitis and whose milk had a consistently low somatic cell count, a cow that never suffered from acidosis and a cow that was never lame. Now imagine a herd of such cows, and imagine how profitable it would be.

Read more ...