Calf Care Checklist: 5 Checkpoints for Summer Ventilation – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

Posted on May 17, 2019 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
Good ventilation can go a long way in promoting calf health, and these five checkpoints can help ensure your ventilation system is ready to meet your calves' needs this summer.

VIDEO: A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser – Meet Heidi Fischer, Fischer-Clark Dairy Farm, Inc.

Posted on March 18, 2019 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

With Heidi Fischer, Fischer-Clark Dairy Farms, Inc.
We're pleased to introduce Heidi Fischer and the Fischer-Clark Dairy team in Hatley, Wisconsin.  Throughout 2019, Heidi will share her calf program and experiences with us. Visit our YouTube channel for more segments of A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser.

Veterinarian’s Corner: Manage Calf Barn Ventilation During Temperature Swings – Courtney Halbach, The Dairyland Initiative

Posted on March 18, 2019 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Courtney Halbach, The Dairyland Initiative associate outreach specialist
Air quality is important to ensure calf health.  With spring being a tricky time to manage ventilation in calf and heifer barns, use these recommendations to make sure your ventilation systems are ready for the seasons ahead.

Virtual Farm Tour: Loehr Dairy LLC

Posted on October 26, 2018 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

Joe Loehr of Loehr Dairy LLC believed he could adjust his pasteurized milk feeding program to improve calf health. As he reached for that goal, he also achieved better efficiency in the total calf raising program.

Wise Investments in Heifer Raising – Cody Yanzick and Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

Posted on October 24, 2018 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Cody Yanzick and Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus
The transition period is often the first time calves are grouped with others. Limiting stress during this period can offer some of the greatest dividends, in terms of health and performance, as heifers enter the milking herd.

Vita Plus Calf Summit Preconference Farm School: Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy

Posted on June 28, 2018 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy in Kewaunee, Wisconsin is the largest family-owned dairy farm in Wisconsin.  They milk 5,400 cows and raise around 3,300 calves at their calf ranch.  Attendees of the Vita Plus Calf Summit Preconference Farm School had the opportunity to tour different areas of the farm and learn from members of the Pagel's team and other industry experts.

Built to last: Long-term effects of heifer rearing environments on hoof health – Travis Busman, Sure Step Consulting International, LLC

Posted on June 28, 2018 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Peggy Coffeen, Progressive Dairyman
When it comes to hoof health, most problems have started long before the animals enter the milking herd.  In Busman's experience, he sees many problems stem from sand-bedded heifer facilities. 

Panel discussion – Calf barns: The decision-making adventures of bringing calves inside – Fischer-Clark Dairy, River Crest Dairy, LLC, & Ocooch Dairy

Posted on June 27, 2018 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Jenna Hurty-Person, Progressive Dairyman
Building a new calf barn and completely rethinking how to raise calves effectively and efficiently can be a daunting task.  Three Wisconsin dairywomen shared their experiences as they tackled this challenge on their farms. 

VIDEO: A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser – Calving Procedures

Posted on April 25, 2018 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

With Sara Schilling, Schilling Farms LLC
Sara Schilling of Schilling Farms LLC walks us through her calving pen and the stringent calving procedures her team follows to give each calf the best start to life.

VIDEO: A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser – Adding onto the Calf Barn

Posted on December 27, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

With Jonathon Hallock, MarBec Dairy
Jonathon Hallock, MarBec Dairy, shares some of the features of his recently completed calf barn addition as well as some of the challenges he encountered through the process.  Thank you to Jonathon for sharing his farm and calf raising strategies with us throughout 2017. 

Think Feet at the Feedbunk – Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus

Posted on August 23, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus dairy technical specialist
So we fire up the tractor, load the TMR mixer, turn into the central feed alley of the heifer freestall barn, and start discharging feed. Typically, the last thing we want is the heifers to run out of feed, so we make sure they have plenty. 

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Bulk Calf Starter Storage: Ask These 6 Questions – Jeff Winkler and Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus

Posted on August 23, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Jeff Winkler, Vita Plus operations leader, and Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist
Calf raisers on operations of all sizes are looking at bulk calf starter storage.  Bulk calf starter has some advantages over bagged starter, including decreased price per ton (no bagging costs), no empty bags to deal with, and the convenience of bulk starter available right there on your farm.  Here are some key questions to ask as you consider construction of on-farm starter grain storage structures. 

Calf Care Checklist: Designing On-farm Starter Storage – Glenn Andler, Vita Builders

Posted on August 23, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Glenn Andler, Vita Builders LLC general manager
Are you considering construction of calf starter bins on your farm?  Thorough planning prior to construction can save you time and hassle, as well as dollars lost in spoiled feed.  It can also help you build these units so they can be used in the safest way possible.  Consider the following points as you design and construct new bins.

VIDEO: A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser – Calf Barn Tour with Jonathon Hallock, MarBec Dairy

Posted on April 20, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

In this segment of A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser, Jonathon Hallock, MarBec Dairy, explains the decision-making process that led to the construction of the farm's four-row calf barn.

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

Posted on April 20, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

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.

Fast Fact: How Can I Slope Hutches to Increase Drainage? – Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus

Posted on April 20, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist

Question:  How can I slope hutches to increase drainage?

Quick answer:  Creating a 2-percent slope by placing a small mound at the junction of the calf hutch and outside pen increases drainage away from the calf.

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