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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.

LATEST

The importance of colostrum feeding is well understood by dairy producers and calf raisers. New research is further refining our understanding of the value of colostrum feeding.

Developments in technology are providing new and better tools to manage and implement a colostrum-feeding program. Here is a sampling of some of the new research to help better manage this critical part of the calf’s life.

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The health and viability of a newborn calf immediately impacts your profit. Caring for cows prior to calving and at calving time requires patience, keen attention, time, labour and expenses. There are few ways around this, and attention must be paid toward multiple aspects of management to get a new calf off to the right start.

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Milk replacer is formulated to balance major nutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) with an optimal fortification of vitamins and minerals. When designing any nutrition program, the calf’s health, size and age must be considered.

Historically, citations in scientific literature have documented trials where calves have been fed diets low in energy, depriving them of much-needed nutrition. Recent work has rightfully demonstrated that increased nutrition in the calf for optimized growth leads to many positive outcomes, including better milk output in the first lactation.

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Respiratory disease is responsible for nearly half of all weaned heifer deaths on U.S. dairy farms.

New benchmarks for pneumonia treatment and mortality rates take aggressive aim at this troubling statistic from the National Animal Health Monitoring System’s Dairy 2007 study.

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There are probably as many ways to raise dairy replacements as there are people raising dairy replacements. Most of these methods are successful; however, everyone knows that some are more successful than others.

At the most recent ADSA meetings in Denver last summer, we presented an evaluation of data we have collected to determine what impacts growth of neonatal calves through eight weeks old.

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Ask a student about colostrum, and the response will be passive immunity. That’s correct, but it is only part of the story with respect to the biological activity of colostrum.

Colostrum is the first milk produced by the mammary gland prior to parturition. This first milk is rich in immunoglobulins (proteins) as well as other chemical constituents and cells that impact the health of the newborn calf.

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