Virtual Farm Tour: McAllister Family Dairy

Posted on August 4, 2023 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
The owners of McAllister Family Dairy in New Vienna, Iowa, wanted to build a new calf care facility that could provide the best environment possible for raising healthy calves. When designing the facility, they focused on excellent ventilation and labor efficiency. In early 2022, calves moved into the new barn, which has space for 98 pre- and post-weaned calves. The farm managers are pleased with how the facility has met their goals in the last 18 months.

Virtual Farm Tour: Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, LLC

Posted on April 26, 2023 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Between 20 and 40 calves are born each day at Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, LLC in Kewaunee, Wisconsin. With exceptional animal care as a top priority on the farm, the team continually looks for opportunities to learn, evolve, and adopt new strategies to minimize stress – both for the animals and the employees – during each calving.

Key considerations when designing a calf barn

Posted on April 24, 2023 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Noah Litherland, Ph.D. | Whether you are thinking about building a new youngstock facility or renovating an existing facility, the following features can increase the functionality of the barn for both calves and calf caretakers.

Virtual Farm Tour: Level-Vu Acres

Posted on January 24, 2023 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
When Mike and Tim Wettstein of Level-Vu Acres in Cambellsport, Wisconsin, built a new freestall barn for their heifers a few years ago, they had an opportunity to experiment with a new system to raise their preweaned calves and young heifers. The result is group housing that is easier to clean and manage.

Facility features: Feed barriers for young heifers

Posted on January 24, 2023 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Noah Litherland, Ph.D. | When building or updating heifer facilities, producers must choose what feed barrier(s) to incorporate into the heifer pens. Consider these questions to help you identify the best option for your heifers and management system.

VIDEO: Calf chat with Noah – Rail-feeding systems

Posted on October 19, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
In this segment, Dr. Noah Litherland describes how rail-feeding systems and group pens are successfully used to raise preweaned calves.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.