On-Farm Biosecurity: Reduce Risk

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator What is biosecurity and where does it start? Biosecurity refers to those measures taken to keep diseases out of populations, herds or groups of animals where they do not currently exist or to limit the spread of disease within the herd. The responsibility for farm-level biosecurity belongs

Beyond the Barn: 4-H Youth Educate Public on Dairy

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Andrea M. Bloom, Vita Plus marketing and communications specialist, and Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator You’re never too young to speak up for dairy. A recent 4-H youth training session reminded us of that. About a month ago, we were asked to help out with a program for Dane County 4-H youth

Calf Care Quick Tip: Using Body Tapes

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
  By Dr. Neil Michael, Vita Plus director of dairy initiatives Do you use a body tape to monitor calves’ body condition?  Here are a few guidelines for using the tool to accurately monitor calf performance: Use a body tape intended specifically for calves to ensure accurate weights. Weigh five to 10 newborn calves to

Video: Calf Chat with Ann – Employees’ Winter Environment

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
We're taking a different approach with this edition of Vita Plus Starting Strong Calf Chat with Ann. Instead of focusing on calves, we're going to take a moment to focus on people and the steps you can take to ensure your calf care team has a safe and comfortable environment to work in as the

Virtual Farm Tour: Trans Ova Genetics

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Trans Ova Genetics: Outstanding Care for Calves with High Genetic Potential Drive past Trans Ova Genetics in Sioux Center, Iowa and it looks like any calf-raising facility with rows of calves in hutches. Spend any time there and you’ll quickly realize it’s a unique place to be. Trans Ova Genetics provides reproductive services for dairy

Video: A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser – Shiloh Dairy LLC

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
In this edition of Starting Strong A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser, Cathy Speirs of Shiloh Dairy LLC gives an insider's tour of Shiloh's maternity facility and walks us through newborn protocols. She also shares how her management practices change with cold weather.

Heat Lamps: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Long, cold winters are hard on everyone and it is always a constant struggle to keep vital areas of your dairy operation warm. One of these important pieces is baby calves. Many people rely on heat lamps to keep newborn calves from catching a chill once they are born. But, are heat lamps really a

Measuring Colostrum Quality

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Failure of passive transfer is one of the biggest factors affecting calf health and mortality. Not only is it important to make sure your calves are getting colostrum in a timely manner, but it is also important that the colostrum you are feeding is of the highest quality. How do you evaluate colostrum quality? Several

Cali the Calf’s Christmas Wish List

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus Calf Products Coordinator I recently had a very interesting discussion with a producer’s calf, and she asked if she could share her “Dear Santa” letter with me. Brought to you right from Cali the Calf: Dear Santa, Santa, I have been very good this year. I drink my milk and

Video: Beyond the Barn – A Global Perspective at Vita Plus Dairy Summit 2011

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Every once in a while, it’s beneficial to leave the farm and take in the big picture of the dairy industry.  More than 400 producers, industry partners and Vita Plus employee owners did just that at the recent Vita Plus Dairy Summit 2011. During his kick-off presentation, Al Gunderson, Vita Plus vice president of sales

Ask the Expert: Body Condition Scoring of Calves

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Dr. Neil Michael comes to Starting Strong with nearly 30 years of experience as a veterinarian specializing in dairy. He currently works as the director of dairy initiatives for Vita Plus. Q: How do I know that my calves are getting enough energy during cold weather conditions to maintain and gain body weight? A: One

Calf Care Quick Tip: Calves Keep Growing

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
We track growth when we’re looking at calf performance, but it sometimes slips our mind when it comes to the simple things. Remember, calves grow quickly and the calf jackets and collars (for autofeeders, tethering, etc.) they received on day 1 might not fit as nicely a couple of weeks later. Once a week, make

Video: Calf Chat with Ann – Saying Goodbye to the Warm Days

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
In this edition of Starting Strong Calf Chat with Ann, we're reminded that chilly temperatures and lots of snow will be coming our way soon. Ann covers the basics of bedding, nutrition and more as we look to winter.

Virtual Farm Tour: Vir-Clar Farms

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Vir-Clar Farms:  A Look Back at the Last Five Years Five years ago, Katie (Boyke) Grinstead jumped headfirst into her lifelong dream.  She returned to her family’s dairy to build the calf operation and raise her kids on the farm. Building success Vir-Clar Farms, LLC is owned and operated by Gary and Rose Boyke.  Their

Designing Calf Starters That Optimize Growth

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
We know that feeding starter early in the calf’s life helps develop the rumen and boost performance. But a lot more goes into a good starter than oats, corn, molasses, fat and a pellet. During his presentation at the 2011 Dairy Calf and Heifer Conference, Dr. Mark Hill with Provimi North America shared his insight

Vaccination Not a Substitution for Good Management

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Vaccinations can play a valuable role in ensuring calf health in any season. That said, they should never be used as a way to overcome poor management. That’s according to Dr. Chris Chase with the South Dakota State Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Department. “In general, vaccination is used too much and too often,” Chase said.