Cost of Gain: Do You Know Your Number?

Posted on March 25, 2020 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist
Knowing your feed cost of gain is an important consideration when selecting and evaluating a nursery calf feeding program. This cost of gain calculator can be used to estimate the cost of gain for a nursery calf program. 

Keeping Useful Computer Calf Records

Posted on January 28, 2020 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Jon Rasmussen, Vita Plus dairy technology specialist
As computer herd management programs improve, calf raisers have the opportunity to define what information needs to be recorded that can help treat calves and identify strategies for improvement.

Veterinarian’s Corner: Lung Ultrasound – Another Tool to Combat Calf Pneumonia

Posted on November 13, 2019 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Kendra Wells, Valley Veterinary Clinic
Diagnosing pneumonia can be difficult because most cases are subclinical. However, using an ultrasound can help view lung lesions and lead to an effective monitoring program.

Calf Care Quick Tip: Collecting Maternity Stats

Posted on February 23, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

This Calf Care Quick Tip comes from MarBec Dairy in Mondovi, Wisconsin.  Clipboards with record sheets hang on the wall just outside of the maternity pen.  These forms are used to collect information, such as dam and calf identification, calving ease, colostrum collection and more.  A big digital clock makes it easy for employees to note the time of calving.

Ask the Expert: What Do I Want in My Next Mobile Phone? – Terry Seubert, Vita Plus

Posted on August 26, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Terry Seubert, Vita Plus IT services development coordinator

Question:  What factors should I consider when picking out my next mobile phone?

Answer:  Picking a mobile phone can be nerve-racking, especially with so many different factors to consider.  Remember, good or bad, mobile phones have become part of our busy, everyday lives.  They provide a way to stay in touch with family, friends, and work, while also functioning as a camera, social networking device, music player, GPS system, and a constant connection to the Internet.  Here are a few things to consider when picking your new mobile phone.

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.

NEW! Fast Fact: Average Birthweight

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

Question:  What is the average birthweight of a Holstein calf? 

Quck answer:  85 pounds

A little more on that...

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.

Regional Calf Report: Ohio – Dr. Andy Kniesly, Vita Plus

Posted on April 28, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Andy Kniesly, Vita Plus dairy consutlant Here in Northeast Ohio, as milk prices have fallen, we are reviewing all areas of the farm to find opportunities to optimize production strategies. One area that is often reviewed is the replacement heifers. Heifers are the future of our herds, so we want to raise them

Calf Care Quick Tip: Get Organized

Posted on February 26, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Do you ever struggle to find “that” calf in the sea of hutches?  Do you need a place to write a note to the afternoon feeder? It is really important to organize and find animals quickly. Designing a “calf map” will help everyone on your team. Key Information to include with the map are items

Regional Calf Report: Central Minnesota – Dr. Kevin Ratka, Vita Plus

Posted on February 26, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Kevin Ratka, Vita Plus dairy technical sales specialist Precision dairy is a buzz word in our industry.  With all the new technological advancements becoming available, producers can generate more data and information than ever.  This allows them to make better, more informed decisions to improve the profitability of their operations. I recently began

Beyond the Barn: Five Apps I Use With My Calves – Shawn Miller, Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy

Posted on December 22, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Shawn Miller, Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy calf manager My iPad has become one of the most important tools I use in raising calves.  Here are five apps I wouldn’t give up: WeatherBug This app tracks the daily weather and future forecast.  I use it to prepare for the weather and know how to adjust the

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

Ask the Expert: What Can I Learn From a Diagnostic Report? – Dr. Edie Brandt, De Pere Veterinary Service

Posted on April 29, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Edie Brandt, De Pere Veterinary Service Question:  Once in a while, we will take in samples collected from a deceased calf for analysis.  Can you please help me to better understand the findings and how to use this information? A:  First of all, the best person to help answer your questions is your

Measure Calves and Make it Matter – Cody Yanzick, Vita Plus

Posted on December 20, 2013 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Cody Yanzick, Vita Plus dairy specialist Let’s say your heifer program is struggling.  Animals are getting bred and entering the milking herd later than they should.  You know you need to make changes, but you’re not sure where to start. The old adage – you can’t manage it if you don’t measure it –

Dr. Don Niles – Using Records to Monitor Calf Performance

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
A veterinarian by training, Dr. Don Niles, co-owner and manager of Dairy Dreams, LLC, understands the value of good records to monitor calf performance. Prior to listening to his presentation at Vita Plus Calf Summit, attendees had the opportunity to visit the 2,800-cow dairy and see firsthand how good management goes a long way in