Beyond the Barn: Dairy Challenge Provides Real World Experience for College Students – Frankie Tiberio, Vita Plus

Posted on February 17, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Frankie Tiberio, Vita Plus Columbus dairy specialist
The North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (NAIDC) is a two-day competition between teams of North American universities’ dairy science students. Each four-person team receives production and management data from a selected farm, visits and evaluates the dairy operation, and develops a presentation for the producer, including recommendations in areas such as transition cows or parlor management. The teams’ presentations are evaluated on the analysis of the farm data and their recommendations. The two days also include a banquet and social hours where students have the opportunity to network with various industry professionals.  At the career fair, students can bring their résumés and speak with company representatives about job and internship opportunities.

Calf Care Quick Tip: Block Chilly Drafts in Hutches

Posted on February 17, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

If you’re raising calves in hutches, take a good look at where drafts might be getting in and chilling your calves.  For example, the bottle holder might be a draft source.  Putting a small amount of straw in the bottle holder area is one small, simple way to help protect your calves on the coldest, windiest days.

Calf Care Quick Tip: Good ‘Calf Movers’

Posted on December 21, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Click on the photos above for examples of good "calf movers." Here’s what we like to see in calf movers as you transport newborns from the maternity area to their individual pens or move older calves to other facilities: Easy to  use Doors / gates open easy and do not pinch fingers Moves easily on

Beyond the Barn: Christmas Tree Farming for the Patient Heart

Posted on December 21, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
While shopping for your family’s perfect tannenbaum at Miller’s Christmas Trees, you have the chance to live out another beloved holiday carol.  Take a few minutes to enjoy chestnuts roasted on an open fire – the authentic treat. Owner Rex Miller had the idea that warm chestnuts would add to a merry experience for his

Dairy Heifers: Feed Cost Control Points – Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus

Posted on December 21, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus dairy technical specialist With the cycle of lower milk prices upon us, we are often asked how to control feed costs, including the cost of feeding dairy heifers. According to a 2013 University of Wisconsin-Extension survey, the average feed cost of a dairy heifer from weaning to calving is $1.71

Receiving Protocols Can Promote Calf Health – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

Posted on December 21, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator Raising calves can be very rewarding and very challenging. Bringing calves from multiple sources can certainly complicate the process, but following a good receiving protocol will help reduce the challenges. Identification and health checks The first step is properly identifying calves. Clearly state the source farm, date

VIDEO: Feeding Calves in Autofeeder Systems – Data Management (Part 3)

Posted on December 21, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
In this video, Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator, walks us through the data autofeeder systems provide and highlights key indicators that can help you best manage your calves. Click here for Part 1 in this video series and click here for Part 2.  Gain more helpful video tips on our YouTube channel.

Ask the Expert: What’s the Best Bedding? – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

Posted on December 21, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator Question:  What material makes for the best bedding for my calves? Answer:   We have many options for bedding calves. The easiest choice is what you have available, but that might not always be the best choice.  Consider your entire setup and how the details affect your options.

Regional Calf Report: Great Britain – Jerry Ruetten, Vita Plus

Posted on December 21, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Jerry Ruetten, Vita Plus Dodgeville dairy specialist On a recent visit to Great Britain, I had the opportunity to tour a few dairy farms. The first thing that struck me was the age of the farms; not the buildings themselves, but the family generations that have farmed these areas.  Some knew the history back

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

Posted on December 21, 2015 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 shares the tools she uses to care for her calves in the winter months.  She also explains her winter feeding program and her simple strategy for delivering the correct amount of milk to each

Virtual Farm Tour: Mar-Bec Dairy

Posted on December 21, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Mar-Bec Dairy Builds Excellence for the Next Generation Jonathon Hallock doesn’t have the typical “farm kid story” of spending every day in the barn with his parents.  In fact, farm chores weren’t even an option unless all of his homework and other school commitments were completed first. But that didn’t limit any of his passion

VIDEO: Calf Chat with Noah – Battling Respiratory Challenges

Posted on December 21, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
In this edition of Calf Chat, Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist, addresses the respiratory challenges we've seen in calves during our recent wet, warm weather. He shares some tips you can use to keep your calves healthy as we head into winter.  Visit our YouTube channel for more Calf Chat segments.

Calf Care Quick Tip: 20 Spanish Words You Should Know – Anna Blake, Vita Plus

Posted on October 28, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Anna Blake, Vita Plus Loyal dairy specialist Communication is often cited as the biggest challenge among today's farm teams.  Language barriers can significantly contribute to that challenge.  Learning the 20 Spanish words listed below may help you more effectively communicate with your team as you work together to raise strong, healthy replacements. English term

Beyond the Barn: Focus on Health and Prevention 12 Months of the Year

Posted on October 28, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Bright pink socks in NFL games and pink ribbons pinned to jackets remind us that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  This annual campaign has helped raise funds for research and reminds women of the importance of early detection.  But this focus on preventative care and a healthy lifestyle should continue long after the October

Managing Through Autumn Colostrum Slump – Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus

Posted on October 28, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist We’ve arrived at the time of year when we hear reports of low colostrum yield from fresh cows.  Field results indicate colostrum yield may reach a low point in November and December, averaging less than 5 pounds of milk per cow at first milking. Both colostrum

Accurately Tracking Growth and Performance of Young Calves – Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus

Posted on October 28, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist Five key metrics can help us evaluate calf performance.  They are: Birth bodyweight Gestation length, calving ease score, calving outside the calving pen, twinning, and failure of passive transfer Health treatment and age at treatment Age, weight and hip height at weaning/grouping Weight at three