Early in April, the Council for Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) released one of the three-times-a-year updates to sire summaries. It can be a lot like looking through seed catalogs to find what bulls to select for the future of your herd. The rankings of bulls keep on getting better, and fast!
Maintaining a successful reproductive program in our modern dairy and beef operations requires dedication. While it is rewarding to hear a pronouncement of pregnancy, there is not much the manager can do with that information, except wait.
Green is my favorite color. Green tree buds, lawns, and pastures signal that winter is finally over. It’s very tempting to turn young stock out onto newly green pasture. We are tired of indoor feeding and cleaning, and we have fieldwork and other chores to attend to. However, tempting as it is to open the pasture gate, first remember these worm management steps.
Bovine colostrum is the production of “first milk” from the mammary gland in the 24 hours after calving and it is the first source of nutrients for the calf. All female mammals produce it, and, in all species, it is of great importance, since it provides key antibodies, or immunoglobulins, to jump-start the immune system and determine whether the offspring survive or not.
The stomach of ruminants is made up of four compartments: the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum. Each compartment has a very specific characteristic and function to help the digestion and absorption of essential nutrients to the animal.
The importance of colostrum is no secret to dairy and livestock producers. Unlike many other species, the placenta of cattle prevents the transfer of antibodies from the dam to the calf in the uterus. Instead, calves must rely on colostrum, the cow’s first milk, to pass antibodies from dam to calf.
Raising heifers is one of the most cost-intensive areas of the farm. From the day these animals hit the ground until they calve, they are a monetary burden on the farm. Therefore, getting these animals to calving as efficiently as possible makes sense.
A sound colostrum management program should be the cornerstone to every farm’s calf management program. Calves are born with a naive immune system, one that does not have enough circulating antibodies to help fight disease. Because of this they are highly susceptible to disease for the first few weeks of life.
Colostrum management is the single most important factor in determining calf health and survival. Successful colostrum management requires farmers and managers to provide newborn calves with a sufficient amount of clean, high-quality colostrum within the first few hours of life.
Keeping calves healthy and alive is a critically important factor that contributes to a dairy farm’s success and profitability. The job of keeping a calf healthy begins at birth. Birth to three months of age is the most sensitive rearing period for the young calf. With biological, environmental, and nutritional stressors, the success of the first rearing phase depends on calf managers and feeders paying special attention to detail.