Making the Old Barn New Again – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

Posted on October 2, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
Before you decide to turn that old dairy barn into a calf barn, you should do some research.  An old barn may provide more warmth and protection from the elements for calves and caretakers.  But consider calf flow, ventilation, sanitation, ease of feeding, and the overall health benefits and risks before you begin renovations.

3 things a fresh cow wants

Posted on July 28, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Stacy Nichols
A fresh cow pen should provide cows with a clean, comfortable environment to recover from calving and minimize the social stress they experience when being moved into new groups.  The primary goal of a fresh group must be to minimize health events to allow cows to reach their production potential.

Heat abatement up to par?

Posted on April 17, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Darin Bremmer
Heat stress can start to impact high-producing cows once the temperature reaches above 65 degrees F.  With warmer temperatures on the horizon, now is the perfect time to assess your heat abatement strategies and make any necessary changes to avoid substantial economic impacts.

Warm days and cool nights impact heifer respiratory health

Posted on January 16, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Noah Litherland
Maintaining nutrient intake balance and respiratory health can be a challenge during the first quarter of the calendar year.  Increased ambient temperature during the day, increased humidity, and cooler nights have clear impacts on heifer intake and health.

Dairy heifers need some fresh air

Posted on November 18, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist
Fresh air is something we sometimes take for granted out in the country.  We give considerable thought and effort to making sure our milk replacer program is right or our pasteurizer is working correctly, but perhaps we should think more about the quality of air in our calf and heifer facilities. 

Don’t skimp on the details and you’ll find the lost dollars (Part 2)

Posted on September 15, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Laurie Winkelman
In Part 1of this article series, we discussed the details involved in good forage and feeding management to help prevent lost dollars. This second article will focus on the details of cow comfort and reproductive management to help boost your farm’s bottom line regardless of the milk markets.

Strong transition requires more than a great ration

Posted on September 7, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Nicole Barkley
You have many options to choose from when it comes to feeding dry cows.  You may favor a single dry cow group over a two-group system, feed anionic salts and high or low calcium, or incorporate high levels of straw. 

Walls or no walls?

Posted on March 23, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Randall Greenfield
Walls or no walls?  This question inevitably comes up when considering storage options for ensiled forages and grains. The answer, of course, is always “it depends.” For any specific situation, the ultimate solution could be different than the next. For the purpose of this article, however, I’ll make some generic comparisons.

Manage dairy heifer feed cost control points

Posted on March 2, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Pat Hoffman
With the cycle of lower milk prices upon us, we are often asked how to control feed costs, including the cost of feeding dairy heifers. 

It’s time to prepare for winter calf care

Posted on October 19, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Augusta Hagen A hard frost and cooler temperatures mean winter will be here before we know it. The thermal-neutral zone for a calf under 3 weeks of age is 59 to 78 degrees F.  When temperatures dip below 59 degrees, the calf can start to experience cold stress and not grow as efficiently as

A smooth transition

Posted on September 11, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Sarah Fraley The transition period for a dairy cow is often considered her most stressful time in the course of her lactation. Typically defined as the three weeks prior to the three weeks after calving, the transition period consists of rapid changes in the cow’s metabolic needs as well as many physiological changes associated

Video: First Winter in a New Calf Barn

Posted on February 5, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Ann Hoskins In most respects, it's been a mild winter.  However, the recent cold and snow blasts have brought back memories of last winter's polar vortexes and that little Pennsylvanian groundhog just said we have six weeks to go. Many calf barns went up last summer in response to the previous harsh winter.  That

Robotic feed pusher: Future driver of dry matter intake?

Posted on July 11, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Kary Babb In today’s dairy industry, technology is evermore integral to the management and care of dairy herds worldwide.  Increasingly, producers are saying goodbye to manual labor, allowing them to focus their time on other projects. First, we saw a huge change to the industry when robotic milking systems became available.  Since then, an

The ladies like it cool… Starting today (Part 2)

Posted on May 30, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Rod Martin It’s the end of May and that means heat abatement strategies should be in place on your dairy.  A good method to review your cooling strategy is the 3-M approach:  mechanical considerations, metabolic considerations and management considerations. I discussed several mechanical considerations in my last post, including shade, airflow and water access. 

The ladies like it cool… Starting today (Part 1)

Posted on April 25, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Rod Martin On April 20 here in the Madison area, the temperature soared above 70 degrees for the first time in 190 days.  This was certainly a welcome relief and we are hoping for many more days like that since many of us were wondering if this severe winter would ever end. For 190

Because they can’t wear ski jackets and snow pants

Posted on February 1, 2013 in Dairy Performance
By Ann Hoskins It’s cold out there.  No doubt about it.  Your calves are noticing it too. Just like you put on multiple layers of clothing before you head outside in the winter, your calves need to “bundle up” when it gets cold. What’s more, their “winter outfits” need to be dry and clean to