What’s on the menu for your calves from 3-6 months?

Having got this far, the goal with calf growth during this period is to feed the young heifer so that it meets correct growth and weight targets. What should your calves be eating right now?

Picture courtesy of Donna Evans from Tasmania.

How to feed the young heifers so that they meet correct growth and weight targets?

This is the period in the dairy calf’s life that is characterised by a shift from starter ration to concentrate mix and free choice hay. Continue reading

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Feeding your calves for a high growth rate

Right from the calf’s first moments of life, the right approach to feed is crucial for securing a high growth rate.

Be generous to your calves

Feeding your calves for high growth rate

You need to start the process of feeding for a high growth rate straight after birth: Continue reading

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Train your calves to drink

Lifetime productivity starts when the calf is born. Calves, like human babies, need to have a good childhood to become successful adults. Calves are a very important part of any dairy operation and need care and attention. There are plenty of useful tips and tricks to be found along the way. In this post, we look at teaching the calf to drink for itself.

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Lifetime productivity starts when the calf is born.

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Scheduled service: a main component of parlour performance

Milking equipment needs regular servicing to work properly and safeguard the health of the herd. Can you really afford to be without it?

With the volatile milk and feed prices of recent years, producers cannot afford to have their milking equipment performing at less than the highest level. The payback associated with a scheduled service programme can be seen in the form of increased production and less downtime due to unplanned interruptions in the milking process.

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Milking equipment needs regular servicing to work properly and safeguard the health of the herd.

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How to move from conventional to robotic milking – part 2: What to do with 2 months to go

In the second of our two posts examining the necessary steps for a smooth transition from conventional milking to robotic milking, we look at herd preparation.

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Moving from conventional milking to robotic milking

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How to move from conventional to robotic milking

In the first of two posts we look at the necessary steps for a smooth transition from conventional milking to robotic milking. Here we consider the issues that need to be addressed up to six months before startup.

Moving from conventional to robotic milking requires consistent work and methodical execution

Moving from conventional to robotic milking requires consistent work and methodical execution

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Successful reproduction is at the heart of the dairy business

Successful reproduction lies at the heart of any dairy operation – without regular calvings there will be difficulties in producing the desired amount of milk. As a direct result of this, infertility – or perhaps, more accurately, the inability of the cow to get pregnant  – is the main reason for early culling of dairy cows.

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Minimising mastitis and maximizing cow lifetime productivity

It is the second biggest cause of involuntary culling of dairy cows, and it can infect up to 50% of all dairy herds in the US and Europe: mastitis is a constant threat among dairy herds which can have expensive repercussions. Yet the good news is, it’s preventable and treatable in almost all cases. And that means that, in the majority of examples, there is no need to replace the animal in the herd, and no reason why that animal could not go on to be productive well past the usual average 2.5 lactations.

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SCC increase: not always due to mastitis

For a long time now mastitis detection has in large part been about keeping an eye on somatic cell count numbers. However with DeLaval’s Herd Navigator you can get a more accurate reading  by measuring other components like the enzyme Lactate Dehydrogenase.

Mastitis is an inflammation in the mammary gland, primarily caused by bacterial infections. When the bacteria grow it then releases certain metabolites (different pathogens cause different metabolites to increase) and toxins that stimulate the defence mechanisms in a cow. The immune system responds by releasing white blood cells from the peripheral blood stream, that then travel to the udder region. The consequences of mastitis are tissue damage and dysfunctional mammary glands. Clinical mastitis is rather easy for the farmer to detect as the symptoms are clotting and discoloration of the milk. In severe cases the cow has a fever and a loss of appetite. However subclinical mastitis can be harder to discover as both the milk and udder can appear normal.

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How scheduled parlour services can help prevent mastitis

When a milking parlour is installed, it undergoes many tests to make sure it can safely milk animals according to applicable mastitis health codes. From the very first milking, the pipeline is cleaned two to three times per day with chemicals. Over time these same chemicals will also degrade the rubber, silicone and plastic components in the system that can lead to a multitude of herd health issues. In being proactive and scheduling a service you will reduce the likelihood of downtime, which could help increase profitability and cow longevity.

It is well-known that bacteria in the milking system can adversely affect profitability and overall herd health. Air leaks over time can lead to a change in the system vacuum, which can directly affect animal health in the form of a high somatic cell count (SCC) and mastitis.

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