Dairy Herd Management Articles:

Protect cattle to prevent disease progression 
When it comes to respiratory disease, don’t overlook protection from viral pathogens

Don’t let your herd get bugged by parasites 
Managing internal pests pays off, even when times are tight.

Question your vaccines 
When designing a vaccination program for a dairy, there are many variables to consider.

Get a handle on heifer mastitis
Find out what is causing mastitis infections to appear within days of calving.

How does your calf housing stack up?
Results from new calf housing research indicates that calves housed in poly hutches bedded with sand could have an increased chance of respiratory infection due to airborne bacteria concentrations.

Don't fall into this sanitation gap
Use disinfectants property and try to avoid situations that can lead to resistance among disease organisms.

Fridge health = calf health
Only three out of 10 fridges reliably kept the temperature needed for proper storage of animal health products.

Make the most of vaccinations 
Vaccines are a powerful tool in the disease prevention toolbox, but their effectiveness depends a lot on how and when they are used. Use these tips to get the most out of vaccines.

Be proactive when it comes to disease management 
Improve the health of your calves.

Pen moves are making me dizzy 
Regrouping calves repeatedly after weaning may cause stress and weaken a calf’s immune system.

Digging into vitamin D needs for calves 
A new model should help determine just how much of this nutrient dairy calves should get to promote optimal growth and health.

Don’t forget the thermometer 
One of the most basic management tools that we forget to use is a thermometer, says Max Thornsberry, veterinarian and dairy technical specialist with Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition and Mid America Veterinary Consulting. Read Thornsberry’s advice for using this management tool.

Animal value reduced after exposure to PI cattle
With lifelong compromised health, persistently infected (PI) cattle are obviously a drain on economic resources, but they may be even more costly than previously assumed. New research shows that PI cattle can actually decrease the profitability of surrounding animals, even those that never develop the clinical disease.

Milking heifers before calving may reduce stress
If you are looking for ways to reduce stress around calving, and spread the changes that occur over a longer period of time, look back to this research study published in May 2007. Researchers began milking heifers 21 days before expected calving. Premilked heifers produced 42.5 pounds of milk one day after calving compared to 15.9 for control heifers.

Body condition score your calves
There are many different feeding programs for preweaned calves. Selecting the right milk or milk replacer option and starter is not easy, says Steve Hayes, veterinarian with Day 1 Technology in Winona, Minn.

Transition heifers successfully 
Heifers returning to the dairy from a heifer ranch or new purchases can present health challenges. Use these tips to manage those challenges.

Do’s and don’ts of heat stress 
Use these tips to prevent heat stress.

Cattle value reduced after exposure to PI cattle 
New research shows that persistently infected cattle can actually decrease the profitability of surrounding cattle – even those that never develop the clinical disease.

Vaccinating the cow protects the calf 
A regular vaccination program is an insurance policy that can help protect two animals for the price of one.

Know the signs of heat stress 
Even when it’s not that hot out, animals can be affected by heat stress.

Calves can thrive in cold weather 
According to research published in the December Journal of Dairy Science, when calves receive adequate nutrition, they can tolerate considerable periods of cold without affecting growth.

Don’t let respiratory problems snowball
Pneumonia is the most important disease in calves older than 30 days and, according to the National Animal Health Monitoring System, results in an average loss of $15 per calf per year. The challenge in controlling this disease is to catch it early, as the growth rate of respiratory bacteria can double every 30 minutes. Tom Shelton, veterinarian and senior technical services specialist for Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health shares best-management practices to effectively manage respiratory disease.

Know the signs of heat stress
Keeping a close eye on weather conditions and your animals can be helpful in monitoring heat stress. Take action early, before animals are severely stressed. Watch for these signs of heat stress.

Blood serum and dehydration
Before taking a blood serum sample it is important to asses the calf for dehydration.

Take steps to limit heat stress 
As the weather starts to warm up across the country, don’t forget to take steps to protect your animals from heat stress. The Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance certification program offers guidelines to mitigate against heat stress.

Colostrum is critical to a healthy start
Failure of passive transfer continues to affect a significant portion of dairy calves.

Control pests around the dairy
These resources can help you develop a pest management plan for your operation.

Plan ahead for the demise of fliesUse these tips to develop an integrated approach to controlling flies before they become a nuisance.

3 reasons to be wary of birds
Birds can cause serious economic losses to your operation; predatory birds kill calves, birds eat large quantities of feed and birds carry diseases.

Acidification of calf bedding may help control flies
Calf pens offer ideal breeding grounds for house and stable flies and are often target areas in fly control plans. New research published in the March 2010 Journal of Dairy Science looks at using sodium bisulfate as a possible fly-control measure in calf housing.

Plan your pinkeye prevention program nowAs pinkeye season approaches, it’s time for dairy producers to take preventive steps to control this contagious, costly disease. Pinkeye can negatively impact the production and overall health of dairy animals. Use this three-pronged approach to prevent pinkeye.

Parasites can rob heifer growth
Before turning your heifers out to pasture this spring, you might consider deworming them. Parasites can have a severe impact on heifer growth and development. Learn more parasites in dairy heifers, the need to deworm and timing of deworming.

5 ways to prevent pneumonia
The 2007 Dairy National Animal Health Monitoring Systems report identified pneumonia as being responsible for 24.5 percent of all pre-weaned calf deaths and 44.8 percent of all post weaned calf deaths. These tips from David Wolfgang, Penn State University extension veterinarian will help you prevent this disease.

Get a jump on fly season
Flies are a nuisance to animals and people; they can spread disease and reduce weight gain in calves and heifers. Use these tips to develop an integrated pest management strategy for fly control.  

Plan your pinkeye prevention program now
Use this three-pronged approach to prevent pinkeye.

Scours prevention tips for dairy calves
Two keys to prevention: maximize immunity and minimize exposure.

Give first-calf heifers a boost 
First-lactation animals make up a third or more of the typical U.S. dairy herd, so their health and performance is paramount to operational success.

Identify and manage persistently infected calves 
Bruce Hoffman, veterinarian and president of Animal Profiling International, offers tips for managing bovine viral diarrhea.

Heifers and mastitis 
Heifers that contract mastitis are usually detected after freshening or sometime in early lactation. However, these animals could have had an intramammary infection for more than a year before being diagnosed. Milk-producing tissue in the udder develops during the first pregnancy, making it extremely important to protect heifers from mastitis pathogens.

Why do vaccines fail? 
Dick Wallace, University of Illinois extension dairy veterinarian, shared several reasons for vaccination failure during a heifer-management Webinar last month.

New BVDV resources  
A new online bovine viral diarrhea virus information resource is available.

Transition period can reduce respiratory illness  
Too many changes at eight weeks of life cause stress, reduce immunity and cause respiratory problems in calves, explains Al Kertz, nutritionist with ANDHIL LLC.

USDA grants $16.8 million for TB eradication efforts
Michigan, Minnesota and California receive new federal emergency funding for programs.

Protect heifers from BVD infection   
Can you assure your clients that their heifers — and their unborn calves — will return home without any new infectious diseases?

How to avoid endotoxin overload in calves
Avoid endotoxin overload in calves through proper vaccine handling and other strategies.

Mastitis prevention begins at birth 
Anytime a heifer freshens with mastitis, you failed somewhere earlier in life.

These two viruses commonly found
Whether or not these two pathogens cause severe, mild, or even no clinical cases of diarrhea in calves depends on your management.

Keep vaccine expectations realistic
Your first concern should be to choose those that do no harm.

Control winter teat problems
Learn why bacteria doesn’t stop growing in stall beds even in the winter.

Check calves’ ears when resting 
Calves in the early stages of mycoplasma pneumonia will perk up their ears at feeding time, too.

Keep calves’ routine consistent
Doing so can help prevent clostridium problems in calves

Stop the spread of salmonella
If you could do one thing to minimize an outbreak of salmonella, keep fresh cows away from sick, treated and lame cows.

Disease-control tips you can use
Here are four ideas you should use to help minimize the transfer of disease with calves.

Calves will forecast diarrhea
Look for an increase in the calf’s temperature first.

High-risk animals need extra care
Grower-springer heifers have the highest risk for developing mastitis.

2 tools to assess neonatal dehydration
Measuring eyeball recession is an even better way to gauge dehydration in a calf.

Ideal oral electrolyte solution
Make sure the electrolyte solution you use can meet your calves’ needs.

Grow your herd by cutting calf mortality
Doing so could double your growth rate.

Consider group ear-notch testing for BVD
Check to see if the lab you use has experience doing group testing.

Dairy calf respiratory disease
Respiratory disease in young dairy calves can be a killer; tighten up management to prevent and reduce respiratory illness.

Start calves off right
Research has shown that disease rates for preweaned calves range from 1 percent to 50 percent on farm.

Reduce stress on newborns
Try this idea to help get newborns off to a good start in life.

Lead poisoning: A cause of sudden death in calves
The information presented in this Case Study is from Jerome Nietfeld, DVM, PhD, and Brad DeBey, DVM, PhD, Kansas State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and appeared in the Kansas Veterinary Quarterly, Summer 2005.

Keep tabs on heifer mastitis
Dairy heifers are often the forgotten animals on the farm until they calve.

Score your calf-sanitation SOPs with this checklist
Take this quiz to find out how many of these SOPS you actually have in place.

You can prevent umbilical hernias
Make sure no one on your farm is taking short cuts when it comes to navel care.

Top 5 reasons calves get sick
Getting enough good-quality colostrum into a calf is just the starting point. Learn what other factors most often limit calf performance.

Scours booklet available
Learn what these five experts recommend on preventing and treating scours.

BVD in calves costs more than you think
Fifty percent of calves born persistently-infected with BVD will die within the first year of life.

When to trim heifer hooves 
Use these guidelines to help determine when you should, and should not trim heifers’ hooves.

Stay on top of crypto
Florida veterinarian Kathy Swift has had people from northern states ask her, “What do you do with your crypto calves? We can’t keep ours alive.”

Ear-notch calves for BVD
If BVD shows up in the skin cells of an animal, there is a high likelihood that the animal is persistently infected.

Beware of averages
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by your average treatment rate. Did deeper into the numbers to determine what’s really going on.

You must have a plan for Mycoplasma bovis
Victor Mendes does what he can to stay on top of Mycoplasma bovis.

Treating heifer mastitis pays
Why you should consider treatment if you have a problem.

Do your heifers have mastitis?
Here’s how to determine if you have a problem.

Protect calves from Johne’s
Good colostrum management is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to preventing Johne’s transmission to calves.

Glove up for feeding time
Everyone wears nitrile gloves when it’s feeding time at Purvis Premier Calves near Spencer, Wis.

11 steps to reduce calf scours
Use these ideas to improve your prevention plan for calf scours.

Test bull calves for BVDV, too
Ear-notching calves to test for bovine viral diarrhea virus (bvdv) is primarily done on heifer calves. However, if you truly want to eradicate BVDV from your herd, you need to test bull calves, too.

Watch what you’re buying
Just because a heifer calf you bought at the sale barn has its ears notched doesn’t always mean she was tested for bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV).

Guidelines for vaccinating calves
Vaccines are not a substitute for good calf management. However, when administered properly, they can be a useful disease-prevention strategy.

How to deal with a scours outbreak
Sometimes, no matter how many preventive measures you take, calf scours show up in the best-managed herds.

Conduct routine exams for heifer mastitis
It’s never to early to check for mastitis and teat damage in heifers.

Scouring calves need electrolytes and milk
When you take away milk and only feed electrolytes it can prolong the duration of the diarrhea.

Is your dry-cow program undermining calf health
Use this quiz to find out.

4 rules to get calves started right
If you do these four things, the bugs don’t have a chance to make your calves sick.

Ladle helps with dipping navels
New method of dipping navels provides better coverage and reduces the mess.

Can calves contract BSE?
Check out what the research has to say.

10 ways to improve calf health
Use these ideas to help you lower your treatment rate and mortality rate.

Use scoring tool to monitor calf health
Use this protocol to help find calves who are sick before they show clinical signs.

Pasteurization pays for these calf-raisers
Lower input cost, better health and more live calves underlie this management trend.

Is pasteurizing calf milk right for you?
Use this list of the most commonly asked questions and their answers to help you decide.

Simplified process for washing calf bottles
Try this idea to wash several calf bottles at the same time.

Only dip navels with tincture of iodine
Don’t take short cuts by using an teat dip containing iodine. You won’t get the same results.

Protect that newborn
It only takes a little manure ingested by a newborn to lead to illness — and sometimes death.

Don’t let heifer mastitis go untreated
The abnormally wet spring here in south Georgia was a blessing and a curse.

New calf care and biosecurity guides
These booklets are available in Spanish and English.

Track your scours rate
Use these three strategies to keep your calves’ scours rate in line.

Clothespins indicate treatments
Colored clothespins help employees keep track of which calves have received which treatments.

Lackadaisical ear-tagging signals problem
Contract-heifer-grower Lynn Neer has seen it over and over again — when ear tags weren’t applied properly at the farm of origin, it may mean that he has a problem animal on his hands.

Neonatal calf diarrhea
In the upper Midwest, where my practice is located, winter seems to be the time of year when we have more cases and complaints about calf scours. And, the fatality rate is higher in these cases than in the summer.

Calves vs. scours and pneumonia: The survival challenge
It's little wonder that dairy calves get sick. The real surprise, according to University of Missouri veterinarian Jeff Tyler, is that any survive.

How to prevent calf scours
Use these ideas to help keep calf immunity high and disease challenge low.

How to prevent pneumonia
Use these nine ideas to help reduce the incidence of pneumonia on your dairy.

Get the lowdown on scours
To gain control of major outbreaks, you need to know the culprits that cause problems on your dairy.

Is your colostrum a health serum or bacterial soup?
While no one would knowingly seed their newborn calves' digestive systems with bacteria, that's exactly what can happen with incorrect colostrum handling.

Pre-treating heifers pays
Research shows that treating heifers before they freshen can help reduce mastitis incidence in some cases.

Step up lepto vaccines
New research shows that heifers can become carriers of leptospirosis before they reach eight months of age.

Color code esophageal feeders
Don’t make the mistake of using the same esophageal feeder to give fluids to a sick calf and then to deliver colostrum to a newborn calf.

Prevent heifer mastitis
Use these eight strategies to keep your heifers from becoming infected with mastitis before they freshen.

Reduce clostridia risk
Seven strategies you can use to protect the health of your calves.

Halt heifer mastitis
Here's how to control mastitis in heifers before they give their first drop of milk.

Prevent the "fresh heifer crash"
Picture this: A new dairy experiences a high incidence of retained fetal membranes, metritis, displaced abomasums and udder edema among newly fresh heifers. In addition, the heifers experience a tremendous loss of body condition the first week after calving.

Keep hands clean near calves
Clean hands is fundamental for controlling the spread of disease.

Dip umbilical cord
Use this preventative step to help ensure the health of your calves.

Fighting calf scours
Rarely does a week go by without a dairy producer asking me what treatment he should use for calf scours. However, before you and your veterinarian can evaluate treatment options, you must examine the calves and conduct laboratory tests to determine the cause, or causes, of the problem.

Protect your calves against mycoplasma
Use these practices to minimize the risk of your calves developing a mycoplasma-related illness.

Heifer raisers should focus on Johne’s, too
Johne’s disease most often affects older animals, says Charlie Elrod with Cargill Animal Nutrition, and formerly with the New York State Cattle Health Assurance Program.

Set heifer protocols by group
For many of my clients, heifers and calf management is an afterthought. Although the producers know that the young stock will be future money-makers on the dairy, their focus remains on the current money-makers - the cows.

BRSV vaccination critical
Canadian research conducted by John Ellis, veterinarian at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatchewan, shows a significant reduction in clinical signs of bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) in young calves vaccinated against the disease.

Keep calf equipment clean
If not cleaned properly, disease-causing organisms can reside on the bottles, pails and nipples you use to feed calves.

Uncover calf health problems
Use this checklist to rate your calf management program and spot problems that can lead to death in the first two months of life.

Calves need lepto vaccinations earlier
If you give heifers their first vaccination for leptospirosis when they’re yearlings, you may be too late, says Victor Cortese, director of technical services for Pfizer Animal Health.