Scours are a fact of life on most dairies. However, too many cases of scours steal your profits. Here are three strategies to help you keep your calves’ scours rate in line:

1. Assess the current scours rate on your dairy and set goals for lowering it. Can you decrease it by 10 percent or 20 percent in the next three months?

2. Track treatable scours cases or electrolyte use. Remember, there is a lot of seasonal variation in scours rates, so be sure to make an apples-to-apples comparison — that is, compare electrolyte use in the same season — when examining therapeutic measures.

3. Compare your treated scours rate — the percent of calves treated for scours on your dairy — to that of other dairies. In the Northeast, for example, most dairies treat about 15 percent to 20 percent of their calves for scours, say New York calf management experts Sam Leadley and Pam Sojda.

This information originally appeared in the January “Calving Ease” newsletter, prepared by Leadley and Sojda. You can find a copy online at: