Virtual Farm Tour: Felten Farms

Posted on July 28, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Felten Farms in St. Cloud, Wisconsin, milks about 400 cows and raises all its heifers onsite with mostly family labor. Eric Felten takes the lead on calf feeding and care. He said he began exploring ways to improve calf management a couple of years ago to increase the efficiency and performance in this area of the farm.

VIDEO: Calf chat with Lucas – 3 critical components of fly control

Posted on July 28, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
In this edition of Calf Chat, Dr. Lucas Mitchell shares the three critical components of an integrated pest management (IPM) plan to reduce flies - and the stress and disease they can cause - in your youngstock operation.

Calf care checklist: These calf behaviors can say a lot about the weaning program

Posted on July 28, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Dr. Noah Litherland | Observing the behavior of recently weaned calves can help you judge whether your weaning program is on point or if a few adjustments will reduce stress (and maintain performance) in these young animals.

Expert’s corner: Mitigating heat stress in youngstock

Posted on July 28, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Dr. Bethany Dado-Senn | The latest concern and next frontier for dairy cattle environmental management is the mitigation of heat stress in youngstock. This has been particularly apparent the past few weeks as most of the Midwest has seen multiple heat waves. If you’re looking to provide heat stress abatement to your calves or heifers, here are a few options you might consider.

Prevent the challenging heifer cycle (part 2)

Posted on July 27, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Dr. Noah Litherland | A challenging heifer cycle occurs when a portion of the heifer development phase does not go as planned and results in heifers that have lower-than-expected rates of growth, lung consolidation, or increased rate of non-completion of first lactation. The net result is often a reduced return on investment from the heifer program. This article, the second in a two-part series, discuss the impacts of management, labor and facilities.

Virtual farm tour: Loehr Farms, LLC

Posted on April 13, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Loehr Farms, LLC in Eden, Wisconsin, is a sixth-generation dairy farm.  After a herd expansion, the Loehr family built a new calf barn with an autofeeder.  Herdsman Ryan Loehr said the autofeeder allows him to spend more time with the calves that need it.

Calf chat with Ann (video): What affects passive transfer?

Posted on April 13, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
In this edition, Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf program manager, discusses the factors that affect passive transfer beyond how much IgG is fed to the calf.

Prevent the challenging heifer cycle (part 1)

Posted on April 13, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy technical services A challenging heifer cycle occurs when a portion of the heifer development phase does not go as planned and results in heifers that have lower-than-expected rates of growth, lung consolidation, or increased rate of non-completion of first lactation.  The net result is often a reduced return on investment from the heifer program.

Calf care checklist: 5 ways to manage feed shrink

Posted on April 13, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Lucas Mitchell, Vita Plus calf and heifer specialist With the current state of feed prices, every penny counts and the importance of managing feed shrink in all areas of the dairy has been magnified. Here are five ways to manage feed shrink of calf feed.

Expert’s corner: Electrolytes for calves

Posted on April 13, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Megan Weisenbeck, Northern Valley Livestock Services Regardless of the cause of diarrhea, replacement of water - ideally by electrolyte solutions - is a main part of the treatment plan.  Note the phrase “replacement of water.”  The most critical part of offering electrolytes is water! 

This makes my life easier: Milk replacer scale

Posted on April 13, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
"Consistency is very important to us when it comes to our calves. To make sure they get the same solids at every feeding, we weigh the milk replacer powder and water. This stand makes that job much easier." - Healther Schuld, Hasel Farms, Lake Mills, Wisconsin

Virtual farm tour: DCS Farms LLC

Posted on February 10, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
DCS Farms LLC in Waunkee, Wisconsin, is a fifth-generation dairy farm owned and operated by Chris Roth and his father. They milk 66 registered Holsteins with a rolling herd average of 32,900 pounds on twice-a-day milking. Roth said his goal is to “have the best 66 cows I can.”

Calf care checklist: Scale options for calves, heifers and cows

Posted on February 10, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, calf program manager Weighing calves is important in benchmarking and evaluating calf performance. In addition to growth rates, weighing calves can help you determine your cost of gain, which is key information for your calf nutrition and management program. Here are some examples of scales that can be used at various points in an animal's life to bechmark its growth.

Calf chat with Lucas: Feeding water in winter

Posted on February 10, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
In this edition, Dr. Lucas Mitchell, Vita Plus dairy calf and heifer specialist, discusses water's role in calf health and growth, and suggests strategies to efficiently provide water in the winter. Visit our YouTube channel for more calf chat segments.

Protect the gut to protect the lungs

Posted on February 10, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy technical services Respiratory disease is one of the primary challenges to successful heifer calf development. Maintaining intestinal integrity (protecting the gut) appears to be one path to protecting the lungs and decreasing respiratory disease risk. Thus, one goal of calf nutrition is to maintain intestinal integrity.

Expert’s corner: Scour vaccine protocols for dairy beef calves

Posted on February 10, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Trey Gellert, Four Star Veterinary Service, LLC It is critically important to vaccinate dairy beef calves because these calves may be co-mingled or stressed, or have unknown colostrum intake, colostrum quality, or dairy farm disease pressure. These make the dairy beef calf unique and different compared to typical cow/calf and dairy youngstock.