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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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With hundreds of visits to all sizes and types of dairy farms under their belts, a panel of calf care specialists recently addressed the question, “What is your opinion of automatic calf feeders?”

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At Anderson Farms (prefix Silverstream Holsteins) in Howick, Quebec, nothing is left to chance when it comes to herd management. They milk 100 cows and own 1,100 acres of land, which includes 4,600 maple trees. Four of their bulls are also in A.I.

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Due to the perception of our climate in Canada, when temperature stress is discussed, it’s usually in the context of cold stress.

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Spring and fall weather conditions often present calf raisers with the challenge of fluctuating temperatures. The rapid and ongoing transition from warm days to cold nights creates a temperature roller coaster that can increase calfhood respiratory disease rates.

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Every day, we make hundreds of decisions. Some are big, while some appear minor and without a significant future impact. Colostrum handling is one of those processes that falsely appears to only have short-term consequences.

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On average, only 36 percent of calf raisers in the U.S. weigh calves to determine rate of gain. Since rate of gain can provide valuable insight into how well your calf program is working, many dairy producers and calf raisers are missing a valuable opportunity.

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