Heifer Blueprint: Best practices for health management
Raising healthy dairy calves requires maximizing the calf’s level of immunity against disease while minimizing its exposure to infectious diseases. However, there will still be times when calves will become sick. Can you identify the sick calf?
Heifer Blueprint: Best practices for youngstock fluid therapy
Diarrhea, or scours, accounts for over 50% of illnesses in preweaned calves, contributing to 32 percent of all deaths in calves (USDA NAHMS 2014 Preweaned Calf Component Survey). Scours itself does not usually kill the calf. Rather, the calf will succumb from the dehydration and electrolyte imbalances which follow. Early identification of affected calves and early and aggressive treatment with fluids and electrolytes is the most successful way to treat scouring calves.
Optimizing use of sexed semen in dairy herds
During the past two decades, a reproduction revolution has occurred in the dairy industry. A consequence of increased reproductive performance has been an increase in replacement heifer inventories, which in turn have decreased replacement heifer market values. Based on the UW-Extension Dairy Replacement ICPA Survey (Akins and Hagedorn, 2015), rearing costs of Holstein heifers from birth to calving averaged $2,100 from 1999 to 2015 and exceeded $2,500 in 2015.
Heifer Blueprint: Bedding comfort
Providing an excellent environment is a key component in successfully raising calves. For calf housing the environment includes the calf’s resting space, feeding, and walking surfaces. A clean, dry resting surface ensures a hair coat that helps insulate the calf against the cold, low air temperatures,and sudden changes in temperature.
Do we still need the AM-PM Rule for the artificial insemination of cattle?
For nearly eighty years dairy producers have been indoctrinated in the use of the AM-PM rule for artificial insemination (AI) of cattle. The AM-PM rule dictates that a cow should receive AI 12 hours after first being observed in estrus. If a cow is seen in estrus in the AM she should receive AI that PM, and cows seen in estrus in the PM should receive AI the following AM.
Treating manure to produce clean water
Manure can be used in a sustainable manner by returning nutrients to the soil to grow crops that feed animals. However, on many livestock farms, manure poses operational, economic, and environmental constraints. Managing manure every day requires labor and money. Losses of manure constituents from the system result in negative environmental impacts such as degrading water and air quality.
Struvite recovery from manure
Phosphorus is an important mineral added to animals’ diets and is critical to their development and growth. However, much of the phosphorus is excreted and ends up in manure. For many crops, if manure is applied at the rate needed for nitrogen, too much phosphorus is applied, which may lead to a buildup of excess phosphorus in soils. Phosphorus buildup can lead to increased phosphorus loss and the resulting environmental consequences. If manure is applied to meet crop phosphorus needs, supplemental nitrogen application is required.
Systems approach to managing manure using coordinated markets
Livestock produce high protein sources of food, but they also produce manure. When used effectively, manure can provide a sustainable source of fertilizers, energy, and other valuable products. However, when not managed effectively, manure components including nutrients, organic matter, and pathogens can be lost to the environment causing negative environmental impacts.
Cold weather calf care
Winter weather brings new challenges for completing chores on the farm. Calf care is no exception. Calves perform best when we acknowledge their needs change in colder weather and adjust our management accordingly.
Tips for safe winter travels when hauling cattle
Be aware of the approaching winter weather which may bring added stress to cattle. Cattle can be tolerant of cold conditions, although extreme cold temperatures combined with wind, rain, and snow may bring added challenges to the health and well-being of cattle not only on the farmstead but during transport as well.
The randomness of dairy reproduction
Reproductive data is particularly difficult to measure which makes it a challenge to measure and monitor, even on large dairy farms. Measuring reproductive performance is about measuring probabilities—the likelihood an event will occur.
Prototheca bovis, an emerging threat to dairy producers
Prototheca bovis has been cultured in herds and is emerging as a threat to producers statewide. Prototheca has been linked to mastitis since 1952, however, within the last five years, the prevalence has significantly increased. Similar to Staph aureus and mycoplasma, Prototheca is hard to detect, has no known cure, and is contagious by intermittently shedding from cow to cow.