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.

Calf Care Quick Tip: Caffeine for Calves – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

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

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
Using 5-hour ENERGY® for a calf can be the quick-pick-me-up a calf needs.

VIDEO: Calf Chat with Noah – Heat Stress Tips

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

Midwest calf raisers have already experienced a big bout of hot, humid weather and heat stress in their animals this summer.  In this edition of Calf Chat, Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist, shares his top 10 tips to keep calves healthy when temperatures rise.

Virtual Farm Tour: McClellan Farms, Inc.

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

‘No-drama Calf Raising’ at McClellan Farms, Inc.
Tom McClellan is a fourth-generation owner of McClellan Farms, Inc. in Delavan, Wisconsin, where they currently milk 480 cows and average 90 pounds of milk per cow per day.  This level of production begins with successful calf care and McClellan believes in “no-drama calf raising” through a slow and deliberate program that starts in the calving pen.

VIDEO: A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser – Dealing with Heat Stress with Jonathon Hallock, MarBec Dairy

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

In this segment of A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser, Jonathon Hallock, MarBec Dairy, highlights the numerous things his team does to keep calves healthy and strong through periods of hot weather and heat stress.

NEW! Veterinarian’s Corner: When to Do a Necropsy – Dr. Jenn Rowntree, Military Ridge Veterinary Service

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

By Dr. Jenn Rowntree, Military Ridge Veterinary Service
Calf rearing is one of the most time-consuming and important tasks on a dairy farm.  The performance of any pre-weaned calf program has a direct impact on a herd’s future and milk production.  Whether it's a 50-cow dairy or a 5,000-cow dairy, it is easy for attentive calf caretakers to become frustrated when calves get sick or die.  Working closely with your herd veterinarian is crucial when it comes to investigating causes of calf illness, whether it's due to scours, pneumonia or other diseases.

Top 10 Factors Limiting Nursery Calf Group Feeding Systems – Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus

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

By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist
Automated calf feeding systems continue to increase in popularity throughout the upper Midwest despite little uniformity in facility design, feeding method, and performance across farms and no industry-wide accepted model to balance facility performance and cost. 

My opinion is that the technology in automated calf feeders is quite good, however, many farms still struggle to manage calves in groups.  We have identified 10 common factors limiting group feeding systems, and suggest some strategies to correct these shortcomings and monitor success. 

Choose Right: Colostrum Supplements and Replacers – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

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

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
Colostrum management is a detailed process and management protocols lead to great success.  Whether you adhere to these protocols determines whether this is a make-it-or-break-it event in a calf’s life.

For example, what do you do if you don’t have the high-quality colostrum your calves need?  You need a back-up plan, and colostrum replacers and supplements can be a useful tool to give calves the best start possible. 

Transition: Think Like a Heifer – Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus

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

By Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus dairy technical specialist
It’s easy to get lost in the details of ration formulation and calving protocols when preparing dairy heifers for their first lactation, but these are not the only important aspects of a successful heifer transition program. 

Fast Fact: What Is the Ideal Height for Calf Pails? – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

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

Question:  What is the ideal height for calf pails?

Quick answer:  Calf eating behavior indicates 24 to 27 inches is a good range for pail height.

A bit more...

Regional Calf Report: Central Wisconsin – Cassie Stillman, Vita Plus

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

By Cassie Stillman, Vita Plus Loyal dairy specialist
Summer has finally arrived in central Wisconsin, but we had to first go through some unpleasant weather in May.  Heavy rainfall and cool temperatures made it difficult on calves.  Discussions with our team and on-farm observations point to respiratory problems as one of producers’ main concerns.  In addition, keeping calves hydrated and stress-free with the recent warm weather has become a priority.  Adjusting from one season to another can be very stressful on youngstock if the transition period is not smooth.

Beyond the Barn: Involve These 3 People in Farm Transfer – Gary Sipiorski, Vita Plus

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

By Gary Sipiorski, Vita Plus dairy development manager
Transferring a dairy farm to the next generation can be complicated.  No one wants to make it difficult, but the process involves many details.  Written terms and agreements must be done properly. 

Help is out there to assist with a farm transfer of any type.  Each farm and family is different.  Three key people should be involved in the process, which will take a year or more to complete depending on the assets and complexity.

Calf Care Quick Tip: Filter Milk for Pasteurizing – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

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

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
Organic matter in milk will significantly compromise a pasteurizer's effectiveness.  If your pasteurizer does not have an inline filtering system, use a screen to filter the milk going into the pasteurizer tank.

VIDEO: Calf Chat with Ann – DCHA Conference Highlights

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

The recent Dairy Calf and Heifer Association Conference provided attendees with new research and trends in the dairy industry.  In this edition of Calf Chat, Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator, shares a few of her highlights from the event.

Virtual Farm Tour: Schilling Farms LLC

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

Schilling Farms LLC Achieves Performance Goals with Calves Back Home

Developing and sticking to calf care protocols is the name of the game for Schilling Farms LLC in Darlington, Wisconsin. 

For 10 years, the farm sent all nursery calves to a custom grower before bringing them all back home within a two-week span in 2011.  The team established as many protocols as possible to “get it right from the start” and modified those protocols as they rebuilt the calf program.

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.