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Providing A Clean Environment=Healthier Calves And Increased Profit

Click here to view as a pdf:  Providing A Clean Environment Equals Healthier Calves

Lorrie

By Lorrie Meister, CVT
Livestock Specialist

A clean environment is essential to successful calf raising. Housing, air quality and cleanliness of the surfaces the calf comes into contact with (hutches, panels, bottles, pails, feeders, etc.) all play a role in raising a healthy, robust animal. Many producers fall into habits of using certain products, or practices, to clean and disinfect surfaces because they have never considered, or have not taken the time to look for a better alternative.

For many years, bleach has been the most commonly used disinfectant on livestock operations.  While bleach is effective in some ways, it has several major downfalls. Cryptosporidium and giardia are two common pathogens that bleach will not control. A common misconception when cleaning facilities is if it looks clean, it is clean. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Studies of bacterial loads in dairy farm environments have shown that only 10% of bacteria present is free floating. That leaves the remaining 90% of bacteria attached to surfaces or trapped in biofilms.1 Biofilms are a group of microorganisms which stick to each other and adhere to a surface. This representation of bacterial distribution proves how important the steps of sanitation (past the removal of gross debris) are in our cleaning protocols. Finding a disinfecting agent that can provide a broad spectrum of protection for your animals can be a challenge. Some agents work well in certain settings but not others. New studies have shown that chlorine dioxide is the best choice for on-farm sanitizing applications.

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Maternal Colostrum Management

Click here to view as a pdf:  Maternal Colostrum Management

By Kaylee Viney,
Livestock Specialist

Giving calves the best chance for a healthy and productive life starts with proper colostrum management. Calves that receive high quality colostrum obtain the passive immunity needed to protect them against disease. Properly managing colostrum will reduce calf treatment costs as well as increase average daily gain. Three areas to focus on when evaluating a colostrum management plan are:

  • Colostrum
  • Colostrum delivery time to the calf
  • Colostrum quantity

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Evaluating Dry Matter Intake From Pastures

Click here to read as a pdf:  Evaluating Dry Matter Intake From Pastures

Erik_WEB

By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

Many producers we work with at Crystal Creek® utilize pasture as a valuable feedstuff in their ration during the grazing season. Pasture is a cost effective feed that provides great nutrition, supports rumen microbes, promotes animal health, and improves the profitability of many operations when utilized properly. While pasture as a feed can be very beneficial, it has one downfall.  It is difficult to measure the dry matter intake (DMI) of your animals when they are on pasture. Dry matter intake is a crucial piece of information for nutritionists when balancing a ration.  A balanced ration is essential for optimal production, reproduction, animal health and ultimately profitability.

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Increasing Herd Profitability Despite Low Milk Prices

Click here to view as a pdf:  Increasing Profitability Despite Low Milk Prices

Teresa

By Teresa Marker, B.S.

Milk prices fluctuate due to market supply and demand.  When milk prices are low, producers find themselves evaluating their current herd status and profitability. Many producers start looking at ways to improve herd health or try to cut costs by eliminating additives. One farm in northwestern Wisconsin, which milks 160 Holstein cows in a robot barn, decided it was time to look for a company that could help improve their situation. A neighbor of theirs, that is currently a Crystal Creek® client utilizing our Crystal Creek® Dairy Nutrition Model (CCDNM), referred them to Crystal Creek®. Their previous nutritionist was using a “band-aid” approach with the herd and it wasn’t working.

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Turning Hidden Challenges into Opportunity on a Dairy Farm

Click here to view as a pdf:  Turning Hidden Challenges Into Opportunity

Teresa

By Teresa Marker, B.S.

As a nutritionist for Crystal Creek®, I get to work with many types of dairy production models (i.e. conventional, organic, grazing). In working with these different dairy production styles, I see that they all share some common challenges. The good news is that there is opportunity to address these challenges and subsequently improve both the health of the animals and the profitability of the farm. Many of these challenges are not obvious and may require some investigation to find out if they are affecting your farm. The biggest areas of opportunity I see on dairy farms include:

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Ask the Vet / Ask the Nutritionist

Click here to view as a pdf:  Ask The Vet Ask The Nutritionist

Lorrie

Every winter we have a number of animals who come in with chapped or cracked teats.  We would like to prevent this but we don’t know how?  Is there anything we can use to keep the cold weather from wrecking our cow’s teats?”

~ Chapped in Michigan ~

 

By Lorrie Meister, CVT

Winter poses many challenges for cattle and producers in general. Here at Crystal Creek® we have a number of products to help you prevent some of the most common problems seen with winter udder care.

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The Importance of the Liver in Dairy Cows

Click here to view as a pdf:  The Importance Of The Liver In Dairy Cows

DrJohnPopp

By Dr. John Popp, PhD.

As I was researching the topic of liver function in healthy dairy cattle, I realized that the great majority of information available dealt with the metabolic diseases of the liver. It was almost impossible to find information that just discussed the function of the liver and how to keep it healthy. The intention of this article is to focus on what makes a liver healthy, not on the doom and gloom of hepatic lipadosis, fatty liver or ketosis, which is what we hear about the most.

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Bavarian Fleckvieh Genetics – How Dual Purpose Cattle Impact Your Farm

Click Here to view as a pdf:  Bavarian Fleckvieh Genetics

DrJohnPopp

By John Popp, PhD.

In March, Big Bear Genetics hosted a trip for a group of dairy farmers to tour different areas of Germany to observe purebred and crossbred herds using Fleckvieh genetics. The question on everyone’s mind was: What will these animals do for us and the future of our farm? Are they efficient? Can they produce milk to the level that we need in order for us to have financial success?

To answer these questions we scheduled tours at several different types of  dairies. We visited larger dairies with 600 plus milking cows, a few organic herds and a high producing, purebred herd in Bavaria.

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Ask the Vet and Ask the Nutritionist

Click here to view as a pdf:  Ask the Vet and Ask the Nutritionist

Lorrie

By Lorrie Meister, CVT

“Sometimes our calves break out with scours for what appears to be no reason. Our Vet has ruled out pathogens and viruses. What could be causing this?”

~A concerned calf raiser in Minnesota~

While pathogens are some of the most common causes of calf scours, there are other factors that are often overlooked. Simple changes in management can many times correct these types of scours once the source of stress is found. Two common causes of digestive stress are feeding milk at an incorrect temperature or concentration.

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