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CALVES & HEIFERS

The future of your herd depends on quality colostrum, sound milk replacer or pasteurized waste milk along with proper bedding and ventilation.

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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 U.S. National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) data, it’s not happening.

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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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During these hot summer months, you are likely aware of heat stress and the effect it has on your lactating herd. However, are you aware of the effect it has on your calves?

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Keeping calves clean, warm and dry is essential to maintain their health and productivity. From the moment the calf is born, what are the best steps to get the calf from wet and gunky to clean, warm and dry?

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Successful colostrum management requires careful attention to cleanliness. Colostrum, while it is still in a healthy cow, should have a bacteria count of essentially zero. However, by the time it gets into the calf, bacteria counts are often very high.

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Protecting the investment in your heifer herd has never been more important. We tend to put a lot of emphasis on genetic progress with our breeding programs, but we fail to partner that with a quality heifer management program to allow our heifers to express their full genetic potential.

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