Regional Calf Report: Beef Calves in Indiana – PJ Neff and Chance Meteer, Vita Plus

Posted on August 26, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By PJ Neff, Vita Plus dairy specialist, and Chance Meteer, Vita Plus beef specialist
So far in 2016, the cattle market has seen an abundance of ups and downs. As expected, prices for both feeder cattle and finished cattle have been extremely volatile.  However, on the calf side, Holstein bull calf markets have continued to steadily decline over the last few months, which has prompted many calf raisers to fill up or remain at full capacity. Certainly, margins remain tight for the entire beef sector; however, the reduction in calf prices has allowed many producers to remain profitable. In times like these, optimizing cattle health, performance, and efficiency become even more important to keep all cattle producers profitable and sustainable.

Cleanliness in the calf barn plays a big role in maximizing cattle health and performance through the early stages of life. We are working with producers to keep equipment and surfaces clean by using ATP meters, a device also used by the Department of Health to check restaurant cleanliness. We are able to see the results on the meter within seconds and know if a piece of equipment or a surface is clean.

The summer heat provides a rapid breeding ground for bacteria. It is important to clean all feeding equipment thoroughly and let it dry in a spot away from high traffic. Buckets, bottles, nipples, and hoses are all high contact points for milk residues and flies.

We are still in the heat of the summer, but we are nearing a strong harvest season across the Midwest. At these times, bedding and waterers can be overlooked as producers rush into the fields. We remind you to do your best to keep bedding plentiful and dry for a clean environment. Good airflow and ventilation has helped keep respiratory issues down, and fans are a good idea if the air seems stagnant. Make sure the waterers are staying full and clean from any algae growth. Electrolytes may be added to hydration efforts in an attempt to combat summer heat stress.

Before going to the fields this fall, take one last look at the waterers and all calf behavior as harvest days are usually long and spent away from home.

Category: Dairy beef production
Starting Strong - Calf Care