As primary calf care manager, feeding time at her family’s 3-D Dairy in Malone, Wis., was getting to be hard on Linda Diederichs’ back. The dairy is in the middle of growing to 1,300 cows, and it raises all heifer calves to weaning before they are sent to a heifer grower.
After exploring its options, the dairy elected to install a computerized calf feeding system this summer. Now, calves are housed in individual pens for the first 10 days then they are moved into group pens with access to the automatic feeder. Calves are averaging 1.73 pounds of gain a day on the system.
“There’s still a lot to do and I’m still busy,” Diederichs says, “but now I can do calf chores on my own schedule. The program is consistent — where people are not — and a calf can eat when she’s hungry. Now, it’s more about problem-solving and keeping things clean, than hauling buckets. Keeping things clean, and having good tech support are the keys!”