Vita Plus Calf Summit 2018 Recap

Posted on July 9, 2018 in Dairy Performance
More than 175 calf raisers, Vita Plus consultants and industry peers came together June 20 and 21 for Vita Plus Calf Summit 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Follow the links in this post to access full event coverage, including speakers’ PowerPoint presentations, articles and more.

Vita Plus Calf Summit Preconference Farm School: Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy
Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy in Kewaunee, Wisconsin is the largest family-owned dairy farm in Wisconsin.  They milk 5,400 cows and raise around 3,300 calves at their calf ranch.  Attendees of the Vita Plus Calf Summit Preconference Farm School had the opportunity to tour different areas of the farm and learn from members of the Pagel’s team and other industry experts.

Does your future depend on social media? – Brenda Murphy, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin
You may be active on social media, but are you posting the right content to enhance your social currency? Murphy provided attendees with a social media update and some best practices.

Nutritional regulation of gastrointestinal function in calves pre-weaning – Dr. Michael Steele, University of Alberta
Colostrum is concentrated with important nutrients, antibodies and growth hormones to help give a calf a healthy start to life. Steele explained how providing quality colostrum early in a calf’s life can help it take in nutrition and repel pathogens.

Guts and bugs: The good, the bad, the ugly – Dr. Jenn Rowntree, Vita Plus
A healthy gut in baby calves is important to give them the best start to life possible. Rowntree explained why a healthy gut is important and shared what you can do to help develop it.

Taking the inside-out approach to growing calves – Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus
Calves don’t become productive members of the milking herd overnight. They need to be “grown from the inside out” with proper nutrition to develop their GI tract and digestive processes to ensure efficient growth.

Prefresh heifers: A might not equal B – Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus
Four common misconceptions exist when we think about prefresh heifers. Hoffman addressed these misconceptions and challenged producers to dig deeper into these beliefs in order to better understand the unique needs of these animals.

Built to last: Long-term effects of heifer rearing environments on hoof health – Travis Busman, Sure Step Consulting International, LLC
When it comes to hoof health, most problems have started long before the animals enter the milking herd. In Busman’s experience, he sees many problems stem from sand-bedded heifer facilities.

Nutritional regulation of gastrointestinal function in calves post-weaning – Dr. Michael Steele, University of Alberta
Going from life as a monogastric animal to a ruminating animal is one of the most significant changes in a calf’s life. How she transitions sets the stage for her future growth and development.

Biosecurity: Is your farm protected? – Dr. Jenn Rowntree, Vita Plus
With many dairies feeling the effects of Salmonella and pressure from consumers to reduce antibiotic use, biosecurity is currently a hot topic in animal agriculture. Rowntree explained what you can do to ensure the safety of your production.

You hold the power of calf nutrition quality control – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus
While cows crave routine in their daily lives, so do calves and heifers. Hoskins spoke about the need to dial in on quality control for calf nutrition to help improve animal health and performance.

Trends and opportunities in calf and heifer rearing costs – Dr. Matt Akins, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Minimizing heifer raising costs without sacrificing heifer quality can be a challenge for dairies. Akins shared some heifer rearing opportunities he sees to improve current practices.

Successfully using calf autofeeders – Jan Ziemerink, Foerster Technik North America
Calf autofeeders face many challenges, and overcoming these challenges is important for raising healthy calves. Ziemerink shared how to properly manage autofeeders and avoid some common mistakes.

Beyond health: Considerations for promoting good welfare in dairy calves – Dr. Jennifer Van Os, University of Wisconsin-Madison
When we think about animal welfare, we try to understand what that means from a species-specific biological perspective. Van Os spoke about what animal welfare means and discussed new animal welfare research and how you could apply that information to practices on your operation.

Panel discussion – Calf barns: The decision-making adventures of bringing calves inside – Fischer-Clark Dairy, River Crest Dairy, LLC, & Ocooch Dairy
Building a new calf barn and completely rethinking how to raise calves effectively and efficiently can be a daunting task. Three Wisconsin dairywomen shared their experiences as they tackled this challenge on their farms.













Category: Animal handling
Animal health
Calf and heifer nutrition
Colostrum management
Dairy Performance
Facility design
Feed quality and nutrition