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Working With Mother Nature…Heifer Maturity Matters

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By Dan Leiterman

Not every seemingly good idea spawned with good intentions by dedicated professionals turns out to be an effective, practical solution. The case in point discussed here; What is the proper age for a dairy heifer to freshen at? Research presented at the 4-State Nutrition Conference this year, and reviewed in this article, shows that the industry’s efforts to freshen dairy heifers at 22 months of age vs. 24 months of age are detrimental to the lifetime productivity of the cow and to the farmer’s profitability.

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The ROI of Calf Barn Ventilation

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By Alex Austin, B.S.

One of the top expenses for a dairy is raising replacement heifers. Since it can take approximately two years before a heifer enters the milking herd, heifer raising is often viewed as a cost rather than an investment. While producers may consider cutting corners on heifer care as an attempt to save money, that approach can often lead to greater financial loss in the form of additional medical treatments, increased farm labor, and poor animal performance. Future milk production potential should also be considered. Studies have shown that calves who receive proper care during the pre- and post-weaning periods become better-producing cows. A better-producing cow means a faster return on investment and increased profit. Investing in practices that will help provide a healthy environment for calves to be raised in will result in more productive animals once maturity is reached. There are many variables of calf care, from different feeding programs to housing styles. This article will focus on the cost, and the return on investment, of proper air quality provided by positive pressure calf barn ventilation systems.

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An Interview: Bill Ciolkosz Discusses His Journey to Build a Quality Calf Barn

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By Cassy Golburg, B.A.

In the fall of 2021, Bill Ciolkosz added a new calf barn to his operation, along with a Crystal Creek® FLAP DUCT® calf barn ventilation system. Bill is a fourth-generation farmer in Thorp, WI. The land he farms has been in his family for over a hundred years. In a recent interview with Crystal Creek®, Bill discussed the reasoning behind the features he chose for his new calf barn facility and how he decided the FLAP DUCT® ventilation system was the right choice for his calves.

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Biologically Appropriate Calf Feeding

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By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

The performance and production ability of a cow are determined by the quality of nutrition and health management they receive as a calf. Since calf raising is expensive, it is important to determine the most efficient and effective feeding method available. Calves are biologically designed to thrive on milk for the first portion of their life and are able to gain weight very efficiently during this time. Feeding increased levels of milk, or milk replacer can be the best way to increase calf growth rates early in life.

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3 Common Calf Barn Ventilation Questions Answered

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By Ryan Leiterman, D.V.M
Director of Technical Services

I have been fascinated with calf barn ventilation for more than a decade; to the point where I have made its study the focus of much of my professional career. Calf raisers around the world often have the same questions when it comes to ventilation and this article will discuss the three most common calf barn ventilation questions I receive. Interestingly enough, the questions themselves are often more complicated than their associated answers.

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Colostrum: More Than Just Antibodies

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By Cassy Golburg, B.A.
Livestock Specialist

The benefits of colostrum in regards to antibodies are well known. Colostrum has many other qualities to offer including high-calorie content, valuable white blood cells and certain naturally occurring hormones. All of these components can have positive effects on a calves’ gastrointestinal health, growth, development and immune health.

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Creating Consistency in Mixing and Feeding Milk Replacer

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By Ryan Leiterman, D.V.M.

Director of Technical Services

Mixing milk replacer to feed pre-weaned calves is a daily task on many farms. And it’s a simple task, right? All it takes is adding the correct amount of powdered milk replacer to the correct amount of water, how hard can that be? While mixing milk replacer may seem easy, mixing milk replacer correctly and consistently for every single feeding is a much more difficult task.

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How to Identify and Manage Heat Stress in Calves

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By Cassy Golburg, B.A.
Livestock Specialist

Most livestock producers are familiar with the negative effects of heat stress in lactating cows, but the impact heat stress has on calves and heifers is often overlooked. Heat stress can not only cause a negative impact on calf health but can also cause a negative impact on producer profitability. There are a variety of health issues calves experience from heat stress including dehydration, lower average daily gains, and higher morbidity and mortality rates. A study from Penn State Extension showed that calves exposed to heat stress early in life often had long term ramifications, such as smaller breeding size and an older age at first lactation. These factors ultimately play a large role in decreasing producer profit. Crystal Creek® can help producers evaluate the impact heat stress is having on their calves and determine what steps can be taken to prevent long-term repercussions from it.

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Calfhood Diarrhea: Two Different Causes = Two Different Electrolyte Strategies

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Calf scours are an economically devastating disease affecting calf raisers, primarily because scours cause calves to rapidly dehydrate. Providing proper hydration can help shorten the severity and duration of calf scours. Electrolyte therapy should be paired with a prevention plan to address the cause of the scours. Choosing the right electrolyte for the job at hand can be confusing. Crystal Creek® is here to help.

 Regardless of the type or cause of calf scours, Crystal Creek® has an effective, economical electrolyte that is right for your operation. For more information, contact Crystal Creek® or your local Crystal Creek® dealer. We’d be happy to discuss how our calf products will help you raise healthier, more profitable calves.