Calf care checklist: Alternative bedding options

Posted on December 16, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Lucas Mitchell, Vita Plus calf and heifer specialist Farmers and calf raisers generally have a very strong understanding of the pros and cons of wehat straw, sawdust, wood shavings and sand as bedding sources because they are so prevalent. However, several alternative bedding materials may be available in your area and their pros and cons are often not as well known. The goal of this article is to highlight some of these alternative bedding materials and outline the pros and cons of each.

Set autofeeders to match your calf-feeding goals

Posted on October 8, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf program manager All the settings of an autofeeder work together and one change can affect the others.  Program the machine so that milk volume, minimum and maximum limitations, and concentration match your calf-feeding strategy. When deciding on a feeding plan, think about when these calves will enter the feeder

VIDEO: Calf chat with Noah – Uncommon cause of loose manure

Posted on October 8, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
In this edition of Calf Chat, Dr. Noah Litherland, dairy technical services specialist, shares his recent experience of working with a herd veterinarian to identify an uncommon cause of loose manure.  Visit our YouTube channel for more editions of Calf Chat.

Virtual farm tour: Pebble Knolls Dairy LLC

Posted on October 8, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Pebble Knolls Dairy LLC in Brandon, Wisconsin, is owned and operated by Eric and Danielle Wetzel and Eric’s parents, Richard and Gail Wetzel.  Eric and Danielle’s daughter, Karsyn, began working as the farm’s calf manager three years ago.  As she learns the ins and outs of raising healthy calves, Karsyn continues the farm’s decade-long tradition of mob-feeding calves in group pens.

Vita Plus SerPass 150 and SerPass 200 colostrum replacers: High-value tools for newborn calf care

Posted on October 8, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Vita Plus SerPass 150 and SerPass 200 premium calf colostrum replacers fully mix in less than 30 seconds and conveniently deliver more immunoglobulins per dollar in a single 2-quart feeding. To learn more, contact your Vita Plus consultant or dealer consultant, check our our product brochure, or call 800.362.8334.

This makes my life easier: Colostrum organization

Posted on October 6, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
The team at Keeler Dairy in McBride, Michigan, tests all maternal colostrum and stores it in a chest freezer according to its quality score.  This ensures that the youngest calves receive the highest-quality colostrum.  Lower-quality colostrum is reserved for second and third feedings.

Calf care checklist: 3 steps for good water hygiene

Posted on October 6, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Everyone knows water is one of six essential nutrients.  However, the magnitude of its importance is often unrealized and, in some situations, downplayed.

Veterinarian’s corner: Farms need to consider more than ‘just dip the navel’

Posted on October 6, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
We all know we need to dip calf navels - it is something that farmers, veterinarians and consultants all tend to agree upon. However, did you know that 5% to 20% of calves in the U.S. develop navel infections and 1.6% of calf deaths can be attributed to navel disease?  That indicates we need to do better than telling employees to “just dip the navel.”

MIdwest beef market snapshot

Posted on October 6, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
It has been a tough year for many farmers in the Upper Midwest. We have seen areas of extreme drought (especially here in Minnesota), severe weather that has damaged crops and other crop health issues. As a result, our markets are still going through their ups and downs.

Virtual farm tour: Redetzkes’ No Joke Dairy, LLC

Posted on July 23, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

It’s not often that farmers completely start over on the same farm where they grew up, but that’s exactly what brothers Sam and Matt Redetzke are doing at Redetzkes’ No Joke Dairy, LLC in Stratford, Wisconsin.  In 2015, Sam and Matt decided they wanted to start milking on their family farm.  Today, they milk 190 cows and about 75% of the herd is Jerseys.

VIDEO: Calf Chat with Lucas – Cool dry cows

Posted on July 22, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
 In this edition of Calf Chat, Dr. Lucas Mitchell explains how heat stress on the dry cow impacts the future growth and performance of her calf. Visit our YouTube channel for more segments of Calf Chat.

8 action items to reduce summer calf stressors

Posted on July 22, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Noah Litherland, dairy technical services specialist
Heat stress can have significant impacts on dairy calf health and growth.  Here are eight action items to reduce the negative impacts of summer heat.

Team culture: The greatest competitive advantage

Posted on July 22, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By John Tramburg, Vita Plus vice president operations
How you practice defines how you play.  How you feel defines how you perform.  Culture can be described as the feeling we have about different aspects of our lives. How does culture affect a business?  Significantly.

Veterinarian’s corner: Dissecting a necropsy lab report

Posted on July 22, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Rob Farruggio, Jefferson Veterinary Clinic, S.C.
After a necropsy is completed at the farm, the veterinarian will prepare any samples and submit them to an accredited diagnostic laboratory.  The samples will be examined by a staff pathologist over the next several weeks. Here's an explanation of what you'll find on the lab report.

Calf care checklist: Identifying dehydration

Posted on July 22, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products manager
The earlier the better when it comes to catching dehydration in calves.  Identifying mild dehydration and fixing the problem in the early stages will save you a lot of headaches in the coming days.  Here are common signs of dehydration at different levels of severity.

This makes my life easier: Starter grain feeding log

Posted on July 22, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

Hickory Lawn Dairy in Cascade, Wisconsin, developed a technique to track starter grain intake simply and effectively by placing a piece of tape on the door of each calf hutch.  As starter grain intake increases, the calf manager circles the number of cups the calf should be fed daily.