Press-Republican

Columns

March 20, 2011

Calf care an important chore

As spring slowly approaches and the land begins to reappear from under its extra thick winter blanket of snow, we will soon be blessed with the green grass of spring.

Well, maybe a little mud first, but grass is right around the corner. My beef cows are starting to get restless from being cooped up and eating dry hay all winter, but soon the pastures will be filled with new calves and their protective mothers.

Spring on the farm is an exciting time with a lot of important tasks to be accomplished. Preparing machinery for the spring fieldwork and planting is a major undertaking. While larger farms may have crews devoted to machinery operation full-time, most local dairy farmers split their time between the milking barn and the tractor come spring and summer.

Between doing the feeding, milking, plowing, planting and haying, one can't help but become a little frazzled. It's during this time that one of the most important tasks on the farm might lack the attention it deserves.

Raising healthy calves is the goal of every farmer and maintaining a consistent and high-quality-care regimen is crucial. I recently attended a presentation by Dr. Sam Leadley, a highly regarded consultant on calf and heifer management. Leadley participated in developing the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association Gold Standards for calf care.

The Gold Standards give dairy farmers and calf raisers guidelines by which calf mortality and illness can be reduced and future cow performance can be enhanced. Record keeping of birth dates, weights, growth rate and treatment for illness are all important to manage for desired goals. The Gold Standards aim is to have calves double in weight by 60 days.

The key to a good start is to be sure that high-quality colostrum is fed to every calf in the first four hours of its life. High quality is of utmost importance. The maternal antibodies that colostrum provides can be overwhelmed by disease-causing bacteria if proper washing, stripping and dipping procedures are not carried out.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Mulholland_Jonathan.jpg Running tips to get you in top form

    Different limb lengths, tighter muscles, stiffer joints, prior injuries all play role in determining your running style, Jonathan Mulholland writes.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • clute_cropped.jpg When children are put at risk

    Adults who deal drugs, commit domestic violence and other crimes with kids present are guilty of yet another crime, writes columnist Penny Clute.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walace_Jolene 7-12_cropped.jpg Let these tips on planting trees take root

    You may think that digging a hole and plopping the tree in will suffice, and it will if you only want the tree to live a short time, columnist Jolene Wallace writes.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • amy_ivy.jpg Is it time to plant? Not yet

    All we can do is wait and see how things get through, columnist Amy Ivy writes.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns

Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time