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.

Special edition virtual farm tour: Drumlin Dairy LLC

Posted on December 17, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
For this special edition virtual farm tour, we visit a commercial dairy goat farm to compare and contrast management of dairy goats with that of calves and heifers.

Calf chat with Ann: Keeping tabs on your pasteurizer

Posted on December 17, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
In this edition, Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf program manager, walks us through two simple strategies to ensure your high-temp or batch pasteurizer is doing the job it is meant to do.

Comparison of growth rates achieved with milk and milk replacers

Posted on December 17, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy technical services specialist Studying the composition of milk solids intake and calf growth helps us better understand how our feeding program decisions impact efficiency of calf growth. Growth is dependent upon calf health, environment, nutrient intake and composition of nutrients consumed. Rarely has calf growth from milk or milk replacer nutrition been compared within the same study. In this article, I used the NRC calf growth model to calculate calf grwoth across milk replacer and milk replacer programs.

Learning from the swine industry: Starting nursery piglets

Posted on December 16, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
We can often gain helpful knowledge, awareness and practical tips when we look outside of our day-to-day activities. Pat Bane was named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year in 2018. In this article, he shares his insights for successfully raising nursery piglets. By Pat Bane, Bane Family Pork co-owner and manager There is not a more stressful time in a pig’s life than the days following weaning. Anything we can do to lessen that stress is a benefit to the animal.

Expert’s corner: When maternal colostrum runs short

Posted on December 16, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf program manager Years of research prove the immense, long-term impact high-quality colostrum has on the health and performance of calves – the future of your herd. Maternal colostrum is a high-value asset on your farm. Unfortunately, that asset often runs short this time of year as many farms see a slump in colostrum production between November and February. Farms need to have a “plan B” in place as they don’t want to short calves on this vital nutrition.