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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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New government regulations will eliminate the use of 2-to-1 Neo-Terra (2 parts Neomycin to 1 part Oxytetracycline in combination) for calf milk replacers in 2010. While the benefits of Neo-Terra use in milk replacers have been questionable, its use in calf milk replacers will be less practical and considerably more expensive.

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Colostrum management is a challenge on every dairy. And while most dairy producers know that getting the right amount of colostrum at the right time is critical to the health of their calves, up to 40 percent of calves are not getting enough protective antibodies from colostrum.

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top25

This article was #5 in PDmag's Top 25 most-well read articles in 2010.

Summary: Susan Day of Land’OLakes Purina Feed highlighted some of the benchmarks established by the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association (DCHA) with the release of the “Gold Standards” in late 2009.

Because this article was so popular, we asked DCHA Executive Director Cindy Hackmann a follow-up question:

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Your baby calves represent the future of your dairy herd. The future in terms of genetic potential, herd size, milk production and profitability. Getting lots of heifers into the milking herd as soon as possible increases your bottom line by both improving your herd’s average as well as reducing overall heifer-raising costs.

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Calf producers have traditionally raised calves in individual pens or hutches. This system of calf rearing has advantages of individual feeding, observation and reduced risk of cross-contamination. It is, however, still labor-intensive. Dairy cattle are naturally group-living animals.

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Finding ways to cut costs and promote efficiency in your dairy operation helps boost your bottom line. But nothing yields you more long-term profits than a healthy herd. And the only way to ensure this continued success is through proactive heifer health management.

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