Veterinary Feed Directives: What’s coming in 2017? – Dr. Al Schultz, Vita Plus

Posted on June 29, 2016 in

Consumer concern about antibiotic resistance has pushed major food processors, distributors and retailers to restrict or eliminate antibiotic use in the production of their foods.  That same pressure has pushed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take a new approach in regulating the use of antibiotics in livestock feed.

Maximizing comfort and productivity in a hot, humid climate – Don Bennink, North Florida Holsteins

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen
In the past few decades, North Florida Holsteins has figured out how to achieve more than 90 pounds of milk per day in an environment where extreme heat stress is the norm.

Building your best team – Laura Finger, Finger Family Farm LLC, Theo Scholze, Scholze’s Family Farm LLC, and Sherry Arnold, Busse’s Barron Acres

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen
“Labor management, procuring employees … if it is not your biggest issue today, it will become one of your biggest issues,” Peter Coyne, Vita Plus dairy field service specialist, warned dairy producers at the Vita Plus Calf Summit.

Coyne moderated a panel of three Wisconsin dairy producers who shared how they creatively and successfully recruit, manage and retain a solid team of farm employees. The panel included Laura Finger, Finger Family Farm LLC; Theo Scholze, Scholze’s Family Farm LLC; and Sherry Arnold, Busse’s Barron Acres.

Are we keeping too many replacements? – Cal Greenfield, Hilltop Dairy, LLC, Lee Meinholz, Blue Star Dairy (Middleton), Dr. Greg Bethard, Pagel Family Businesses

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

For most farms, keeping every replacement heifer probably doesn’t make the most sense.  However, deciding which and how many heifers to sell is different for every farm and depends on the goals you have for your operation.  During a panel discussion at Vita Plus Calf Summit, three producers shared their strategies for the heifer program.

Heat stress pre- and post-partum and its effect on calf performance – Dr. Sha Tao, University of Georgia

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

When the summer heat rises, the best strategy on dairy farms is simple:  Keep everyone cool.

Dr. Sha Tao, assistant professor at the University of Georgia at Tipton, has taken in-depth looks at heat stress effects from a variety of angles, starting with his research at the University of Florida.

Dairy replacement nutrition: What we have learned in the last five years – Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

Just as you need a solid foundation with a good blue print to build a house, you need a sound starter program to successfully raise calves. A good starter program will not only give your calves the best start to production, but will also reflect well on you as a producer.

Heifer rearing cost: Critical control points – Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen
When it comes to raising heifers, cutting costs is challenging because 60 percent of the total expense is feed. While feed costs are quite volatile, costs can be controlled at a few places in heifer rearing.

The heifer facility puzzle: Design the pieces – Dr. Joseph Harner, Kansas State University

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

When planning facilities for calves and heifers, dairy producers must piece together their management style with production goals, such as expanding versus maintaining herd size, or using automated versus manual labor.

“It’s a big puzzle,” Dr. Joseph Harner, livestock housing and facilities expert at Kansas State University, said. “Long term, think about the impact of where you want to be.”

The art of data collection and analysis – Dr. Greg Bethard, Pagel Family Businesses

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

Raising replacement heifers is an expensive but vital component of any dairy farm’s success. 

Dr. Greg Bethard, chief financial officer for Pagel Family Businesses, uses a strategic approach in assessing the efficiency of raising heifers on two large dairy farms.

Transition heifer nutrition – Cody Yanzick, Vita Plus

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

We tend to see greater emphasis put on calf and cow nutrition while heifers are pushed to the back of the mind. Although many consider a good, early start and maintaining production later on most important, nutrition during the transition period is what helps prepare the cow for long-term production.

Causes of calf diarrhea – Dr. Jeremy Schefers, University of Minnesota

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen
When a young calf breaks with scours, 80 percent of the time the cause is from one of three sources.

At the Vita Plus Calf Summit, Dr. Jeremy Schefers, University of Minnesota, explained how to protect calves from falling victim to one – or all three – of these scour culprits.

Drug residues and regulations – Dr. Dave Rhoda, University of Wisconsin-Madison, retired

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen
Ensuring food safety by preventing drug residues is what matters, but how can dairy producers make this a part of their everyday protocols?

According to Dr. David Rhoda with the Wisconsin Veterinary Medicinal Association (WVMA), the Food Armor® program provides the answer.

Farm School presenters share their key take-home points

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

To kick-off Vita Plus Calf Summit 2016, about 120 attendees participated in the preconference Farm School on June 21 at Ostrowski Farms, Inc. in Eland, Wisconsin.  While on farm, participants rotated through several stations to learn the best management practices in a wide variety of calf and heifer care areas.  Each speaker shared their key points for attendees to take back to their home farms.

VIDEO: Calf Chat with Noah – Preparing for VFDs

Posted on April 28, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

In this edition of Calf Chat, Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist, shares some alternatives you might consider when feeding calves as the new VFD rules are implemented.

Virtual Farm Tour: Schmitz Family Farms Ent. Inc.

Posted on April 28, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

Schmitz Family Builds on Generations of Hard Work
Driving down a state highway in Bruce, Wisconsin, you’ll see an old dairy barn that has clearly weathered a lot of years.  On the opposite side, you’ll see a much larger freestall barn surrounded by construction materials.  A new addition on the freestall is near completion and much needed after the farm grew from 750 to 900 cows in the last year. 

VIDEO: A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser – Stacy Jauquet, Jauquet’s Hillview Dairy LLC

Posted on April 28, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

In this edition of A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser, Stacy Jauquet of Jauquet's Hillview Dairy LLC explains the tools she uses to test total serum proteins and evaluate success of passive transfer.  This helps her gauge how well her colostrum program is managed.