This article is part of our series of original articles on emerging featured topics. Please check here to see other articles in this series.
Heifers are the future of your dairy operation, and require a significant amount of attention and decision-making. Will you raise your own heifers or contract them out? How will you manage nutrition, breeding, health, and even mastitis control? In this selection of DAIReXNET videos, you’ll find information on a range of calf and heifer topics, including economics, nutrition, and health management.
Attention to health is particularly important for young calves, which are vulnerable to a number of conditions. As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so watch this video to learn about best practices for disease prevention! Here, Dr. Geof Smith focuses on environmental controls and early disease detection.
Not sure of all the factors you should consider when making heifer-raising decisions? Jason Karszes lays them out for you in this video. He talks about the costs involved, factors that could influence those costs, and how the replacement program can affect the farm’s overall financial performance.
Diving a little deeper into heifer economics, Dr. Mike Overton joins us to focus on the differences in conventional and intensive heifer raising systems. He discusses the inputs in different stages of growth, compares models, and talks a little bit about the impact that heifer-rearing can have on later lactation.
It can be difficult to keep an efficient and effective heifer nutrition program. Watch this video to learn about optimizing pre- and post-weaning growth and achieving puberty at the desired age.
Speaking of nutrition, how do you get it into them in the first place? In this last video, Dr. Mark Thomas discusses feeding systems for group-housed dairy calves. Learn about optimizing nutrition, ad libitum feeding, acidified group feeding, and comparisons of available systems.