ISU Extension and Outreach Dairy Team to host Heifer Facilities and Management Field Day in NW IA on March 31

The Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach Dairy Team will host a dairy design and management field day on March 31 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Jones Dairy located at 2508 270th St., Milford.

The program will specifically focus on design and ventilation of calf and heifer facilities, new research related to paired-calf management and the economics of heifer housing.

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Calf Management Training Resources Now Available

ISU Extension and Outreach training videos are available in both English and Spanish

AMES, Iowa – Having properly trained employees is critical for the health, growth and development of dairy calves and for the profitability and sustainability of a dairy farm. A new series of resources is available through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to provide training in calf management including; newborn calf care, colostrum management, calf nutrition, animal handling, automatic calf feeder management and hygiene and sanitation. Each of the videos are less than 3 minutes in length, utilizing video demonstration of on farm practices to emphasize key calf management practices.

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Dairy Heifer Feed Cost Worksheets Available

To help better monitor the feed costs associated with raising dairy replacements, University of Wisconsin Extension Dairy Management Specialist Bruce Jones and Dairy Heifer Management Specialist Matt Akins have updated Dairy Heifer Feed Cost Budget worksheet to assist farmers and managers in estimating feed costs of replacement dairy heifers.

Bilingual Calf Rearing Program Begins In NW Iowa

Dr. Ramirez explains the importance of colostrum to the new born calf.

On Tuesday, June 6, the first two farms to have Spanish-speaking employees trained in their native language on aspects of calf rearing where taught in Northwest Iowa.  Dairy Specialist Hugo Ramirez taught the classes with other dairy specialists assisting including Kim Clark from UNL and NW Iowa Dairy Specialist Fred M. Hall.

Employees from Multi Rose Jerseys at Rock Rapids and Maassen Dairy at Maurice received hands-on training on newborn calf and colostrum management and equipment cleanliness and hygiene.

In addition, these first two herds allowed us to video and photograph parts of the training for use in webinar presentations later this year.

Northwest Iowa herds interested in having the bilingual training for Spanish speaking employees on newborn calf and colostrum management, monitoring calf feeding equipment cleanliness and hygiene, handling stress and fear in dairy calves, or calf nutrition basics are encouraged to contact me to set up the training.

Water Concerns For Baby Calves

Clean, fresh water is import for baby calves.

With the arrival of summer temperatures, producers are reminded that water plays an essential role in a healthy calf including rumen development. Healthy calves under heat stress will drink between 6 and 12 quarts of water daily just to maintain normal hydration. Severely sick calves under heat stress sometimes require up to 20 quarts replacing what has been lost. According to the National Dairy FARM program Animal Care Manual Version 3.0 (2016), best practice is to provide calves access to clean, fresh water from the first day of life. However, according to the National Dairy Health Monitoring System (USDA, 2014), the average age of heifers when first offered water in the United States is 17.3 days.

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Now Is The Time To Review Your Calf Care Protocols

When we think of temperature stress on calves, the common concern is cold, but as temperatures are moving to the 900F mark this week, producers need to remember soaring summer temperatures, hot sun, and high humidity can cause heat stress in calves and heifers just as in the milking herd. Reduced feed intake and increased maintenance energy needs coupled with lowered immunity can lead to poor growth, higher susceptibility to disease, and in extreme cases death.

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