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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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The Grober Young Animal Development Centre opened its doors in 2009 with the mission of uncovering and presenting best rearing practices for young animals. Over the past three years, approximately 300 calves, 40 lambs and 40 kid goats have resided at our Woodstock facility for the purpose of conducting nutritional and management research.

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Calf management has become increasingly important for many dairy producers, as scientific evidence suggests that the early stages of a heifer’s development can have long-lasting effects on her future production. As such, more attention has been given to adequate colostrum feeding soon after birth.

On many farms, it is not uncommon to supply calves with large quantities of milk or milk replacer, in some cases consuming 10 to 12 litres per day, which has shown to have positive effects on a heifer’s future milk production.

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Raising quality dairy replacement heifers is not an inexpensive or simplistic endeavor.

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The Borst family lives near Elm Creek, Manitoba, about 60 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, where they operate Halarda Farms.

Parents Hans and Dini are now semi-retired, but still very much a part of the family dairy operation.

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Timely calving – to have first-calf heifers enter the milking string at 22 to 24 months old – is not a stand-alone decision.

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It can be debated whether heifers are the most low-maintenance group on the dairy. The truth is they can be low maintenance, if we give them the right start. Healthy heifers come from healthy calves and they become productive cows when we give them the tools they need at the right time.

Start your heifer health protocol as soon as they are born. Calving pens should be cleaned after each cow gives birth to reduce opportunity of disease transmission. After a cow has calved, don’t wait to milk the recently fresh cow with the animals in the hospital or fresh pens.

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