Monday, October 28, 2019

"How to Improve Your Colostrum Management"

This is the title of a short article in Farm&Dairy by Jason Hartschuh that summarizes a number of basic points on colostrum management.

It is worth a quick scan to see if you may be missing a key point - a best management practice.

Here is the link

Very basic stuff but solid management. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Nice Two-Page Summary on
Cold Weather Calf Care

While on a calf care Internet search I came across this short two-page summary of cold weather calf care by Ryan Breuer, DVM, Iowa State Dairy Specialist.

While none of the items Dr. Breuer mentions are new and earth-shaking, they are a good reminder of our options in doing a "bang-up" job of cold weather care as we are about to move into winter weather. 


Here is the link:

Thursday, October 17, 2019

More on Calf Starter Grain Intake

This short article by Maureen Hanson summarizes work by Dr. Dale Moore on calf starter intake.

The key points dealing with grain intake:
  1. Different levels of liquid feeds
  2. Disease
  3. Water availability
  4. Starter grain texture, formulation, freshness
  5. Calf housing, weather management
Also, you will find a link to an interesting online publication "How Much Starter Grain Should a Preweaned Dairy Calf be Eating," by Dr. Moore and Others.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Keeping Milk Feeding Equipment is Not
Really That Hard! Is It?

As part of a study about colostrum feeding a research group in Ireland collected information on cleaning feeding equipment from seasonally calving dairy herds.

Preferred METHOD of cleaning:
Method                         Near beginning of        Near end of
                                        12 wk calving           12 wk calving season
Hot Water Only              41%                             26%
Cold Water Only            35%                             40%
Cold water + detergent   11%                             11%
Hot water + detergent  13%                             24%

Note: Only acceptable method is hot water with detergent when cleaning milk feeding equipment. 

Did you get this? Only 13 percent of operations were using effective methods to clean milk/colostrum feeding equipment - at start of 12 week calving season.

Frequency of cleaning
                                      Near beginning of    Near end of
                                      12 wk calving          12 wk calving season
Daily                                21%                        11%
Every second day            47%                         53%
Once a week                    17%                         28%
Every second wk             13%                         4%
Once a month                   2%                          4%

Note: Only acceptable frequency is at least daily or more frequently as equipment is soiled.

I am not surprised that average mortality at 28 days was 6%. No data were presented on scours rates but we can guess that the rates were discouraging high.

Lots of opportunity here for improvement - anyone need a job advising Irish dairy farmers on sanitation practices?

Reference: Barry, J. and Others, "Associations between colostrum management, passive immunity, calf-related hygiene practices, and rates of mortality in preweaned dairy calves." Journal of Dairy Science 102:10266-10276 November 2019

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Getting Better Calf Starter Intake

"Getting Better Calf Starter Intake" is the title of the October 2019 issue of the calf management newsletter. The key points in the letter are:
·        Begin with a calf starter grain that calves want to eat.
·        Offer only a handful of grain to youngest calves until they begin to eat it.
·        Change grain frequently for youngest calves – mid-day gets them up.
·        Usually, the higher the volume of milk offered, the later calves will begin to eat calf starter – even at late as three weeks of age.
·        At least once a week, dump all the grain buckets and start over – especially important in hot and damp weather.
·        If facilities permit, separate grain and water pails to reduce “slopping” water into grain pails.
·        Clean free-choice water is necessary for good calf starter intake.

The link to the October issue is HERE
or, paste this URL in your browser


Thursday, October 3, 2019

Damp Cold Weather = Health Challenges

Damp cold weather often means health challenges for young preweaned calves. One way we can deal with this heightened challenge environment is to increase resistance to pathogens. 

At you can find a checklist of ways to achieve this increased resistance.
Go to the web site and scroll down the alphabetical list to this title: (remember that you can toggle back and forth between American and Metric versions with a choice at the top of the site)
Healthy Calves: Increasing Resistance to Pathogens - Checklist. 

1.    Selecting procedures for excellent colostrum management
2.  Selecting an good ration for preweaned calves
3.  Selecting weaning methods that maintain high resistance to disease
4. Selecting a farm-specific vaccination program based on the risk of pathogen exposure (selections made with the advice of the herd veterinary surgeon)

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Good Gains in Colder Weather

Don't let colder weather equal lower gains among your milk-fed calves.

A two-part series, Good Gains in Colder Weather, is posted in 
The link to the first part is HERE

You see a comparison of the amount of milk required for both maintenance and growth in a bar chart for both a small and large calf at three selected environmental temperature. 

Enjoy. [and feed more during cold weather]