IS IT OKAY FOR THE GRAIN BUCKET TO BE EMPTY?

Posted by Milk Specialties Technical Experts on Sep 3, 2020 12:45:43 PM

Before we answer if it is okay for the grain bucket to be empty, let us go over the importance of starter intake for pre-weaned calves. Pre-weaned dairy calves need starter grain to initiate rumen development. Bacteria in the rumen begin to utilize nutrients from the starter grain and produce volatile fatty acids that assist with rumen development and feed intakes. To maximize starter grain consumption, it is essential to understand how much calves will eat and what factors might impede consumption of starter grain.

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Topics: Calf Management

IMPACT OF MILK PROTEIN SOURCE ON NUTRIENT DIGESTIBILITY & CALF PERFORMANCE

Posted by Matthew D. Sellers, PhD on Aug 13, 2020 8:30:27 AM

Defining the nutritional and functional differences between skim milk powder and whey protein concentrate and exploring the effects of these milk protein sources on nutrient digestibility and performance in calves.

Calf milk replacer (CMR) is fed to a majority of the dairy calves in the United States in place of whole milk because it is often more economical, provides convenience and consistency, and lowers risk of disease transmission from unpasteurized milk. Many CMRs are made exclusively from dairy ingredients due to the calf’s innate ability to efficiently digest, absorb, and utilize the nutrients that naturally exist in ingredients of dairy origin.

Research into products to replace whole milk began in the mid-20th century and primarily utilized casein, skim milk, and whey as protein sources. As reviewed in Kertz et al. (2017), the prevailing thought of the time was that quality of protein within a milk replacer was directly related to the ability of the milk replacer to form a clot in the abomasum, and that poor-quality CMR would not form clots in the abomasum, resulting in diarrhea and reduced calf performance. Given that CMRs formulated with dried skim milk powder (SMP) readily clot in the abomasum due to the presence of casein and CMRs formulated with whey protein concentrate (WPC) do not clot in the abomasum due to the absence of casein, one might assume that CMR formulated with SMP would result in improved health and digestibility in calves. A review by Logenbach and Heinrichs (1998) dispels this myth and states that factors other than clotting are responsible for observed differences in calf performance.

This paper defines the nutritional and functional differences between SMP and WPC and explores the effects of these milk protein sources on nutrient digestibility and performance in calves.

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Topics: Calf Management

USES FOR A BRIX REFRACTOMETER ON THE FARM

Posted by Milk Spectialties Global Calf Technical Team on Jun 26, 2020 2:49:27 PM

A refractometer with a brix scale is a very useful device for monitoring the nutrition and health of dairy calves. It is a durable piece of equipment that will last many years if cared for properly.

WHAT IS A REFRACTOMETER?

A refractometer is a device that can be used to measure the sugar or solids content of various
solutions. There are manual (figure 1) and digital (figure 2) versions, both of which work very well on the farm. The manual type is usually available for less than $100. Refractometers are available with different types of scales to measure specific gravity, total solids, and Brix. Uses for a Brix refractometer are discussed below. Your herd veterinarian can help you select the most appropriate model for your farm.

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Topics: Animal Nutrition, Calf Management

FEEDING SALABLE MILK TO YOUNGSTOCK: TIPS, TRICKS, AND FORMULATION ADVICE

Posted by Matthew Sellers, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Marvel, PAS on Apr 22, 2020 2:35:27 PM

The US dairy industry, along with our nation and world, are experiencing unprecedented and extreme challenges related to the current COVID-19 pandemic. While milk volumes are increasing across the nation due to ‘spring flush’, demand for dairy products has dropped significantly. In response, many cooperatives and dairy manufacturers have resorted to dumping milk, decreasing milk purchases, or implementing tiered pricing structures.

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Topics: Calf Management

DEHORNING: HOW TO MAKE A NECESSARY JOB EASIER WITH LIDOCAINE BLOCKING

Posted by Elizabeth Marvel on Mar 10, 2020 2:11:15 PM

Until polled genetics become more available in the dairy industry, dehorning is a necessary task on the farm.  Dehorning is a painful process; therefore, it is necessary to provide pain management to the calf. Dehorning should be performed prior to eight weeks of age The younger the calf the faster they seem to recover from the procedure.  You can offer pain management by Lidocaine blocking and offering a drug like Meloxicam. Lidocaine and Meloxicam are both very economical choices, just make sure you receive a prescription from your veterinarian.

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Topics: Calf Management

CALF COLD STRESS MONITOR: A NEW WAY TO ESTIMATE THE INCREASED ENERGY NEEDS FOR CALVES UNDERGOING COLD STRESS

Posted by Milk Specialties Technical Experts on Nov 8, 2019 9:46:27 AM

Colder weather has descended on many parts of the U.S. dairy country, and that means we need to pay increased attention to the impact of cold stress on young dairy calves raised outside. Calves less than 3 weeks of age are most susceptible to cold stress because they are born with very little body fat reserves to draw upon and do not consume very much calf starter at this young age. These young calves must rely on the energy being provided by the liquid diet they are consuming to meet their energy requirements for maintenance (basic body functions such as digestion, immune function, and nutrient metabolism) and for growth. 

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Topics: Calf Management

Calf Management Tips: Nesting Score

Posted by Elizabeth Marvel on Oct 9, 2017 2:09:54 PM

The appropriate bedding for a calf varies from a thin layer of straw, sand or wood chips in the summer to a deep layer of an insulating straw where a calf can nestle into the bedding to stay warm as the temperature drops. 

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Topics: Animal Nutrition, Calf Management

Calf Management Tips: Administering Intravenous Injections

Posted by Elizabeth Marvel on Aug 13, 2017 10:54:00 AM

Medications such as Banamine® (for pain) must be injected directly into a vein. In this movie, Elizabeth demonstrates how to administer an intravenous injection to a young calf.

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Topics: Animal Nutrition, Calf Management

Calf Management Tips: Esophageal Tube Feeder

Posted by Elizabeth Marvel on Jul 10, 2017 11:16:19 AM

An esophageal tube feeder is an essential tool for feeding colostrum to newborn calves and for administering fluids to sick or dehydrated calves. For some calf raisers, the idea of tubing a calf may cause some anxiety over possibly hurting the calf or causing fluids to enter the lungs.

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Topics: Animal Nutrition, Calf Management

Lidocaine Blocking and Dehorning Calves

Posted by Elizabeth Marvel on May 23, 2017 2:41:23 PM

The 2017 National FARM Program (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) takes aim at pain management. Painful medical procedures and the need to manage the associated pain and stress to animals get detailed attention in this revision. Dehorning/disbudding, castration, branding, and extra teat removal are all procedures performed on calves and require pain management.

 

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Topics: Animal Nutrition, Calf Management