How to use body tapes effectively

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Do you use a body tape to monitor calves’ growth and body condition? Here are a few guidelines for using the tool to accurately monitor calf performance, provided by Neil Michael, director of dairy initiatives with Vita Plus Corp.:

Use a body tape intended specifically for calves to ensure accurate weights.

Weigh five to 10 newborn calves to compare to tape readings. This gives you a benchmark to use moving forward.

The same person should consistently perform body taping to avoid user differences.

Weigh calves at birth, three weeks and weaning to compare to published growth charts and benchmarked average daily gain.

Repeat tapings on groups of animals three to four times per year to detect seasonal or nutritional opportunities.

Put your hands on the calves and palpate in addition to taping to get a better picture of how calves are progressing.

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