Optimal Facilities for Older Heifers – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

Posted on December 22, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator Designing animal facilities can be challenging no matter the age of the animal. Here are a few key areas to focus on and suggestions to keep in mind as you design your facilities. Ventilation Ventilation can make or break the system quickly for animals of any age.

Designing the First Heifer TMR – Cody Yanzick, Vita Plus

Posted on December 22, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Cody Yanzick, Vita Plus dairy specialist Calf raisers focus a lot on optimizing calf diets, but a solid heifer nutrition program is equally important.  Good feed management for weaned calves can keep that momentum going as heifers get older. Ingredient selection I like to incorporate some grass/alfalfa hay into the calf TMR as it

Maintaining Heifer Performance in Cold Stress – Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus

Posted on December 22, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus dairy technical specialist Winter issues of magazines and newsletters are stacking up and surely contain a number of articles in reference to feeding and managing dairy calves in winter. All of those comments are important and true; dairy calves are very sensitive to cold conditions.  Changes in feeding and management

Ask the Expert: What Information is Found on a Feed Tag? – Dr. Al Schultz, Vita Plus

Posted on December 22, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Al Schultz, Vita Plus vice president of technical services Question:  I want to have a good handle on what I’m feeding my calves, but feed tags can be difficult to understand.  What am I looking at and what do all the terms mean? A:  Every bag of commercial feed that is manufactured must

Regional Calf Report: Ohio – Dr. Owen Mickley, Vita Plus

Posted on December 22, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Owen Mickley, Vita Plus dairy specialist What will winter have in store for us this year?  With last year’s brutally cold winter still fresh in our minds, are we prepared to deal with the winter challenges we’ll face this year? Let's go back to the basics as these fundamentals are key to our

Video: A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser – Vir-Clar Farms

Posted on December 22, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
In this edition of Starting Strong, Katie Grinstead of Vir-Clar Farms in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin shares all the things she does to raise healthy calves year-round.  This includes a big focus on bedding and a high plane of nutrition.     Visit our YouTube channel for more segments of A Day in the Life of

Virtual Farm Tour: Nehls Bros. Farm

Posted on December 22, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Team Accountability Drives Success on Nehls Bros. Farms Dr. Jerry Gaska has practiced veterinary medicine since 1989, so he well knows the importance of developing and following clear protocols for animal health.  By working closely with him, the calf team at Nehls Bros. Farms understands that value as well. Nehls Bros. Farms is owned and

Video: Calf Chat with Ann – First Winter in a New Barn

Posted on December 19, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Many calf barns went up this summer in response to last winter’s polar vortexes.  That means many of you are now working out a few kinks in the new systems as you aim to raise healthy calves.  In this edition of Calf Chat, Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator, shares a few tips for

Build Your Calf Team Culture on Accountability – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

Posted on October 31, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator Successful operations have very specific metrics they use to define success. They may be driven by the bank, partners in the operation or the owners themselves. In many cases, these metrics are clearly defined and recorded. But, on a day-to-day basis, how do you focus on those

Video: A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser – Vir-Clar Farms

Posted on October 31, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
We are pleased to introduce you to Katie Grinstead of Vir-Clar Farms in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.  She oversees the calf program in addition to managing the family farm's finances.  In her first edition of A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser, Grinstead shares her experiences from her recent trip to China where

Virtual Farm Tour: Heim’s Hillcrest Dairy LLC

Posted on October 31, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Heim’s Hillcrest Dairy LLC Achieves Improved Performance with Autofeeders  A higher plane of nutrition can lead to improved performance in dairy calves and automatic calf feeders can be very effective in delivering that nutrition to each calf when managed effectively. That was the thought process behind the installation of the Holm & Laue autofeeders at

Boost Respiratory Health with Good Management – Dr. Sheila McGuirk, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Posted on October 28, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
With Dr. Sheila McGuirk, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine Calf respiratory health tends to be discussed most frequently during the fall and spring months, but it should be a top priority year-round, according to Dr. Sheila McGuirk, veterinarian and professor with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. Pneumonia, which is an

Calf Care Quick Tip: Testing Total Proteins with a Refractometer

Posted on October 27, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Testing total blood proteins can help you manage your colostrum program as this simple test indicates whether successful passive transfer is achieved.  Use the following steps as you test blood protein levels in your calves. Collecting the sample Use a red-top serum collection tube (no anti-coagulant added), vacutainer or 3-cc syringe with 20 g 1-inch

Beyond the Barn: Keep Kids Safe

Posted on October 27, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Although fewer kids grow up on farms today, childhood farm accidents still happen all too frequently. As reported by the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, a child dies in an agriculture-related incident about every three days.  About 25 percent of those fatalities involve machinery, 17 percent involve motor vehicles (including

Milk Replacers: Consistency Matters! – Dr. Max Thornsberry, Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition

Posted on October 27, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Max Thornsberry, Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition The goal in mixing calf milk replacer is to consistently feed the same concentration of properly mixed milk replacer each feeding.  It is also necessary to feed calves their milk replacer meals at consistent intervals; in other words, the same time each day, hopefully at least

Ask the Expert: What Should I Include in my Colostrum Management Protocols? – Dr. Don Niles, Dairy Dreams LLC

Posted on October 27, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Don Niles, Dairy Dreams LLC Question:  In the next couple of months, I want to establish a colostrum management protocol that will help my team effectively deliver high quality colostrum to every calf.  Can you share an example of a successful program? A:  At Dairy Dreams, we are very interested in raising the