Lewis Anderson, president of the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association (DCHA), offers the following comments on why gold standards for raising calves are important.

"Recently, I had a conversation with a dairy producer who is raising his own calves, a new venture for him. In the past, their calves where raised by a neighbor. The neighbor had become sick and was no longer able to continue raising the calves for the dairy.

"As our conversation continued, they had a lot of question on what should be some of their goals and how they could monitor these goals. The questions were leading right into the project that DCHA had just finished. I showed them a copy of the Gold Standards, which outline production and performance expectations in six categories for Holstein calves from birth to six months of age. (Additional goals for older animals will be added in the future.)

"The dairy took the points from the Gold Standards and started a program to track their progress in their new venture of raising calves at home.

"Whether it is something you have done for years or you are now placed in a position to care for the calves, the Gold Standards can be a tool to monitor your progress.

"What the Gold Standards do, so to speak, is "draw a line in the sand." From this point, you can ask, "Am I average, or below, or above average in my calf rising?"

"The Gold Standards are a great tool to measure what you are doing in your calf and heifer raising operation. You may be doing better than the standards in some of the areas. In other areas where you are not meeting the standards, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Why am I not reaching this standard?
  2. What do I need to do differently?
  3. Who can I call on for help?

"Each one of these questions will bring together a flood of information and resources that can help you in your quest to achieve the goals you have set - raising high quality dairy calves and heifers."

For more information on the DCHA Gold Standards, click here.

Source: Dairy Calf and Heifer Association