Regional Calf Report: Central Minnesota – Kate McAndrews, Vita Plus
Hello from Minnesota! Fall is a very busy time of year as the harvest comes in, fieldwork (hopefully) moves along and winter plans are set. As we all find plenty of tasks to complete on our to-do lists, producers are still taking the time to check their current protocols for calf and heifer growth and health. Here is a helpful checklist I use with producers:
- From the minute a calf is born, a number of important items help ensure the calf is given the best care in regards to sanitation, disease control and nutrition.
Vita Plus “Newborn Calf Management Guidelines” technical bulletin | Spanish Version
- Calves should be offered warm water within the first week of life, allowing them to grow more efficiently and build healthier immune systems.
Vita Plus “Feeding Water Guidelines” technical bulletin
- Calf scours can be an occasional or frequent concern on our farms due to cleanliness, nutrition and/or environmental stressors.
Vita Plus “Calf Scours: Major Causes, Risk Factors and Prevention Strategies” technical bulletin
- As the temperature drops below 60 degrees F, the calf’s minimum requirements need to be met with more protein and fat to continue growing to meet your goals.
Vita Plus “Calf Winter Feeding Guide” technical bulletin
- For all calves, heifers, and cows, resting area plays a big role in health and growth.
Vita Plus “Replacement Heifer Resting Area Space Requirements Per Animal” technical bulletin
- Are your calves meeting your health and growth expectations as compared to industry standards?
Dairy Calf & Heifer Association’s Gold Standards
- Regardless of your calf housing and ventilation systems, air exchange rates need to be monitored to ensure fresh and clean air for all animals in all facilities. Check out this chart from Dr. Sam Leadley based on research from Cornell University.
Dr. Sam Leadley’s Recommended Air Exchange Rates Per Animal in Cubic Feet Per Minute
- Penn State has designed a Customized Dairy Heifer Growth Chart using your own herd goals.
Penn State Extension’s Customized Dairy Heifer Growth Chart
- Cornell University has a helpful website with tools for evaluating heifer replacement programs based on overall costs, feed costs, management, housing and labor. It also helps you determine if it’s more suitable to raise your own calves, send them to a custom raiser or purchase heifers.
Cornell University’s Dairy Replacement Evaluation Tools
Please reach out to your Vita Plus consultant and herd veterinarian with additional questions about growing your future herd.
Calf and heifer nutrition
Starting Strong - Calf Care