Dairy Herd Management Articles:

Welfare-friendly dairy housing
Check out these resources for the latest recommendations in dairy cattle facility design.

Keep good records 
A variety of computer programs are available to help you keep track of heifer information.

Be prepared 
Use these tips to develop an emergency action plan for your business.

Do your employees know what’s out of bounds? 
An animal-handling policy can help ensure that your employees play by the rules of your operation.

More bang for your labor buck
A “rainy day list” can ensure employee productivity during down time and/or inclement weather.

Stars, workhorses and dead wood
Time to take stock of your workforce.

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 3 out of 10 fridges reliably kept the temperature needed for proper storage of animal health products.

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

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.

Put that halter on right
When restraining cattle, it is very important to put the halter on properly. It’s a common mistake to put the halter on upside down. Use these basic instructions to make sure you put the halter on right.

Do you have a mouse problem?
Learn about potential health hazards from mice and develop a mouse-control program.

Record-keeping 101 
Use these tips to decide which files to keep and which ones to shred.  

Control what you can 
It looks like there are few parts of the dairy puzzle we can currently control; operating lines have evaporated and lending options are extremely tight.

It’s the little things
Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference when it comes to calf performance. Steve Hayes, veterinarian with Day 1 Technology in Winona, Minn., shares some small things you can do at birth that will make a big impact on calf health.

Write a strong calf-raising contract
As dairies expand, more dairy producers look to custom growers to raise their herd replacements. Unfortunately businesses can’t rely on a handshake anymore. Calf raisers and contracting dairies need to have a strong contract in place to protect everyone involved. Four calf experts offered tips on how to write a strong contract and what should be included in the contract.

3 ways to make your calf operation better
Steve Hayes, veterinarian with Day 1 Technology in Winona, Minn., shares three simple ways to make your calf operation better.  

Set goals and expectations for heifer raising
What does a quality heifer look like? The answer to this question will vary depending upon who answers. One way to ensure that you are raising quality heifers is to set goals and expectations for raising calves. Learn more about the importance of goal setting for calves here.

Manage milk replacer mixing
There are a number of areas that require intense management in order to raise healthy calve. An area that can get overlooked is the management of milk replacer mixing. Errors and/or inconsistency may lead to scours or abomasal bloat. Use these tips to trouble-shoot common mixing errors.

An inside look at heifer raising
Greg Goodell, veterinarian with The Dairy Authority in Greeley, Colo., shares management tips that he uses on his calf operation in the February issue of Bovine Veterinarian. Including how Goodell’s operation tests for bovine viral diarrhea, its vaccination program, communication protocols with dairy owners and its nutrition program.

Do your calves get a gold star?
New industry benchmarks for calf-raising are available. Use these guidelines to set goals for your calf-raising program. This article appears in the March issue of Dairy Herd Management.

Tax preparation tips 
Use these tips to prepare for taxes and take a closer look at the bottom line.

A smoother transition 
See what steps this dairy took to improve the transition between calf group pens and the heifer barn.

Tips to build positive relationships 
Mend fences, clean up messes and strengthen relationships.

Do you get a gold star? 
When it comes to housing for your calves, how does your operation rate?

Tips for good biosecurity 
Biosecurity practices for newborn calves are very important. Use these tips to improve the biosecurity on your operation.

Troubleshoot biosecurity problems 
Biosecurity programs for calves should address pathogen load, contact probability and infective dose.

Jerseys have good beef potential 
Jersey steers have a high propensity for marbling and can be expected to produce high-quality carcasses grading choice or better.

New heifer management program 
This veterinarian-verified program is designed to simplify heifer development while providing long-term value to dairy producers.  

Less mud in heifer pens saves feed cost 
The amount of mud that heifers must wade through to reach the feed bunk can sharply increase their energy intake.

Heifer heat stress studied 
Heifers benefit from shade.

Expansion on a budget  
Expansion is still possible in hard economic times; you just have to be creative.

Spend time with pre-fresh heifers
As little as five minutes per week with pre-fresh heifers can make the transition to milking easier on them.

Long-day lighting enhances heifer growth
Giving heifers 16 to 18 hours of supplemental lighting in a 24-hour period appears to benefit their performance prior to puberty and later on in their first lactation.

Flexible contracts required
Spiraling input cost puts the squeeze on everyone.

Heifer management tools
Dairy specialists at Cornell University have developed a series of downloadable heifer management and decision tools.

Updated heifer-rearing-cost spreadsheet
Researchers at PennState Universityrecently released an updated version of a spreadsheet to help calculate the cost of raising heifers for any type of operation, feeding regime, grouping structure or management.

9 things to put in a heifer-grower contract
If you decide to send your heifer calves to a professional heifer grower, make sure that you sign a contract at the outset of your relationship.

6 things to ask a heifer grower
Use this veterinarian’s advice to help select a top-notch heifer grower.

Death warranty provides accountability
Custom heifer growers can use this idea to help encourage their clients to provide calves with sufficient quantities of colostrum at birth.

Producers turn to heifer growers during expansion
Survey reveals the top reasons why dairy producers turn to custom-heifer growers.

Keep contracts up-to-date
This heifer grower recommends that you periodically review any contracts used and keep them current.