The Dairy Calf & Heifer Association (DCHA) announces its second set of Gold Standards to help set benchmarks for calf and heifer producers. The benchmarks provide a goal to meet in raising animals.
The Gold Standards II establishes standards for the production and performance of Holstein heifers, from 6 months of age to freshening, across the United States. Pfizer Animal Health generously provided funding support for the development of the Gold Standards II, which can be found at www.calfandheifer.org.
“As an industry association, it is essential for DCHA to step up and advocate for management practices and performance measures that will drive success in the dairy industry,” said DCHA President Bob Patrick, DVM. “DCHA provides the Gold Standards I and II to all producers in the industry, regardless of membership, at no charge.”
DCHA worked with producers, university researchers and extension agents across the country to outline appropriate benchmarks for the Holstein weaning to freshening category. By obtaining a range of opinions, DCHA ensured that the final Gold Standards are realistic, yet attainable by most producers.
“The Gold Standards program will have an impact on the dairy industry, enabling producers to use these benchmarks to set goals for their operations,” said Patrick.
Gold Standards II establishes guidelines in the areas of mortality, morbidity, growth rate and nutrition, housing, vaccination and parasite control, breeding, and pregnant heifers. The standards were introduced last week at the American Association of Bovine Practitioners meeting in Albuquerque, N.M. Producers attending World Dairy Expo can meet with DCHA board members and staff to learn more about the Gold Standards II.
In 2009, with support from Pfizer Animal Health, DCHA achieved a long-standing objective when it developed the first set of Gold Standards, which are specifically structured for Holstein calves up to six months of age.