Robey Farms, a 975-cow facility in Adairville, Ky., has cut death loss among calves from 14 percent to 1 percent during the past two years.  Much of their success comes from getting calves off to a good start.

Denise Robey, who manages the calf operation, attributes it to two things in particular:

  • An environmentally controlled calf barn with fans and curtain sidewalls. “I don’t think (the calves) have to fight the environment like they did when they were outside,” she says.
  • Close monitoring of calves from the time they are born. Before, when calves were kept outside in hutches — and born outside as well — there would be times when no one would attend to a calf from the time it was born at night until the following morning. Now, with an indoor birthing area, someone checks the close-up cows every hour and the calves receive colostrum within an hour of birth. (Other tips related to Robey Farms’ calf care are found in this month’s Profit Tips section.)