The future of every successful dairy operation depends on a steady supply of healthy, productive replacement heifers calving between 22 and 24 months of age.
If a dairy is not expanding, sales of excess heifers should be an additional revenue stream for the farm.
If the farm’s business is raising calves for others, producing healthy, productive animals is essential to the long-term success of the calf-raising enterprise. A related, growing enterprise is raising the Holstein bull calves coming off of our dairies.
Hot topic. Last March, 45 growers, industry professionals, and students agreed their calf-rearing enterprises were a high priority. These folks invested two days at the OARDC in Wooster, talking about and working with calves.
The amazing thing was, there still wasn’t enough time to cover “everything” about raising calves.
So we are at it again – some topics we will visit again, some will be new. The focus is on quality calf management.
Neonatal workshop. Following last year’s successful Neonatal Calf Care and Management Workshop, we’re offering the Neonatal Workshop II March 20 and 21.
Following the same format, this intense, two-day workshop focuses on everything you ever wanted to know about understanding and managing the calf from birth through weaning.
General sections include: health diagnosis, treatment and prevention; nutrition and growth; hygiene; and managing the calf enterprise
Twenty-five sub-topics dig into the details of these general section topics.
Get your hands dirty. Holding the workshop at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wayne County lets us use farm and lab facilities for the hands-on portion of the workshop.
Hands-on labs include: assessing calf health; dehydration and administering fluid therapy; posting a calf and studying calf anatomy; and culture samples.
Bottom line. For the people working with animals, it is highly rewarding to work with a barn full of healthy, content calves. Dealing with chronic morbidity and mortality is discouraging for the people working with the calves, and unprofitable as well as unsustainable for the farm.
From a purely economic perspective, dairies should strive for a death loss well under 5 percent. I personally prefer 0 percent, but realistically 2 percent to 3 percent is attainable.
Learn more. The Neonatal Calf Care and Management Workshop II is designed for calf managers and care-givers who are dedicated to doing the best job possible raising their calves.
A detailed agenda, registration materials and fee information is available to download at http://dairy.osu.edu, from your OSU Extension office, or by contacting me at 330-263-3799 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Register soon as class size will be limited to assure plenty of hands-on experiences for participants. A registration discount is available for multiple registrants from the same farm who wish to share reference materials, and for returning participants.
Reasonable local hotel accommodations are available for those who wish to stay in the area overnight.