If only calves would feed themselves, then you’d have so much more time to work on other things on your operation. Or, be able to eliminate a portion of your hired labor cost.

Technology is available to make this happen.

Automated calf feeders offer the opportunity to raise pre-weaned dairy calves with less manual labor than traditional systems while still providing full growth potential, says Jim Paulson, University of Minnesota extension dairy educator.

However, there are a few things to consider as you evaluate these systems, such as:

  • System cost.
  • Facility cost
  • Payback.
  • Calf growth.

Read for more details about each of these areas.

At the end of the day, payback on calf-feeding systems depends on number of animals to be fed per year, as well as labor costs and availability, concludes Paulson.