Friday, February 23, 2018

Are Standard Operating Procedures Useful?

This is the title of a short article by Ferando Diaz, DVM, published in the Farm Journal's MILK magazine, February issue, p 12.

He emphasizes the finding of a study involving 248 dairy farms:
  • 34% of the farms using SOPs did not have SOPs available in writing.
  • 48% of the employees did not have free access to the SOPs at all times.
  • 70% of the dairies did not use SOPs in their training program.
  • 63% of the farmers did not check the validity of their SOPs on a regular basis
  • 44% of the dairies did not involve employees in the creation of the SOPs
He concludes:
"In my experience, to overcome these issues, bilingual SOPs should be available to every worker in common areas and posted in the areas where the tasks are performed.

In a successful dairy management program, SOPs are the main tool for training and retraining employees.

Moreover, SOPs should be updated frequently with inputs from employees, managers and farm advisor.

In conclusion, SOPs can be a great system for improving employee performance when they are efficiently implemented."

Dr. Diaz and I are on the same page. Make 'em and use 'em!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Bleach: Using it to Clean and Disinfect

I just revised this resource in the calf management resource library [click HERE to access]. It reviews critical points about using this popular and inexpensive chemical. 

  • Shelf life for bleach
  • Tables for bleach dilutions for washing, sanitizing and soaking when using household concentration bleach.
  • Sanitizing equipment 
  • Sanitizing milk – does not work 
Enjoy.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Ever Bucket Train a Calf?

Many calf feeders use buckets rather than bottles to feed milk to young dairy calves. All of us who have bucket trained calves know that it is a labor-intensive procedure.

This study of 1,235 calves observed the bucket training process.

They found these rates of "Adoption" by the calves:
(percent drinking by themselves)
Day 2 = only 10%
Day 3 = up to 55%
Day 4 = up to 85% drinking by themselves
Day 5 = up to 92%

Now here is the tough part:

Day 6 = 92%
Day 7 = 92%
Day 8 = 92%

This is getting old - these "holdout" calves are breaking my back!

By day 14 this study still had a few calves that were still requiring some kind of assistance. 

Remember, however, by day 8-14 we could easily have calves that have been drinking by themselves  that now have health issues., maybe a little dehydrated. You know, they are alert, lying on their belly but need encouragement to get up to drink and then need me to fuss with them to finish their milk meal.

Maybe it is not realistic to expect 100% of the calves in the first three weeks of age to dive into their milk bucket and lick it clean.

Reference: Mandel, D. and Others, "Predictors of time to dairy calf bucket training." Journal of Dairy Science 100:9769-9774 December 2017.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Jim Dickrell's Case Study on Calves

Jim Dickrell, Editor Emeritus at Dairy Herd Management magazine, has this fantastic 2-page case study of a calf enterprise.
It is HERE.

The dairy has about 600 replacement animals. Jim's case study report is divided into these parts:
  • Step One: Nursery Barn
  • Step Two: Weaning Barn
  • Step Three: Grower Barn
It is a quick read full of possible ideas for a successful calf enterprise. 

Enjoy.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Consistency Matters!

"Consistency Matters" is the title of the February issue of the calf management newsletter.

 In brief:
  • Consistency promotes better health and growth.
  • Calf care people are the base for consistent care.
  • Consistent time, especially for feeding.
  • Consistent feeding, especially temperature, volume and solids level.
  • See the Calf Care Consistency Checklist HERE.
The letter is HERE.
Or, paste this URL http://atticacows.com/library/newsletters/February2018New020118.pdf