Calf Feeding and Management

When we think of effects of the environment on calves, cold stress is often the more common concern, especially in temperate climates. However, soaring summer temperatures, hot sun, and high humidity can cause heat stress in calves and heifers just as in the milking herd. Reduced feed intake and increased maintenance energy needs coupled with lowered immunity can lead to poor growth, higher susceptibility to disease, and in extreme cases death. Strategies for reducing the impact of heat stress are explored in this article.

In recent years feeding strategies have been proposed that greatly increase the amount of milk or milk replacer fed to calves compared to conventional practices. Numerous studies have documented the effects of these programs on calf growth during the preweaning period. More recently, studies have evaluated the long-term relationship between milk intake in dairy calves with modern genetics and milk production later in life. This review focuses on the effects of increased milk or milk replacer feeding on milk production.

Instructions for using the Calf Milk Pasteurization Evaluator spreadsheet, interpreting the spreadsheet output, estimating waste milk supply and demand, and considerations of waste milk supply.

Microsoft Excel, 322.5 kB

Excel spreadsheet that calculates the cost of owning and operating a calf milk pasteurizer as well as costs to feed milk replacer or whole, saleable milk. The spreadsheet also provides a comparison of the nutrients provided by milk replacer, waste milk, and whole milk. All nutrient values can be edited to compare a variety of feeding programs. The cost of each feed is expressed on a crude protein basis for comparison of cost-to-value. Additionally, the spreadsheet offers tables that compare the costs of alternatives to feeding pasteurized milk when the supply of waste milk is not adequate to feed all calves. The final components of the spreadsheet are two simple calculators that estimate the supply of and demand for waste milk and calculate the amount of powder to add to waste milk to increase solids or volume. **This spreadsheet was updated in 2014 to correct an error in the calculation of energy costs.

A review of important considerations of implementing an on-farm pasteurization system and discussion of available research findings related to feeding pasteurized non-saleable milk to calves. Topics include quality of waste milk, precautions for feeding raw milk, heat pasteurization systems, and UV light treatment.

Topics include whey protein price history, alternative proteins for milk replacer, comparing the costs of whole milk and milk replacer, and considerations for feeding waste milk.

Microsoft Excel, 42.3 kB

Simple spreadsheet to evaluate the cost of feeding whole milk compared to feeding milk replacer. The spreadsheet calculates the cost per pound of dry matter fed and also provides a comparison of the amount of nutrients provided by each feed.

Topics include rumen development review, effects on growth and health, impact on feed and labor costs, recommendations for weaning criteria, strategies for successful weaning, and feed and growth from weaning to 6 months.

Topics include causes of scouring, when to treat with electrolytes, treatment strategies and calculating fluid needs, and recommendations for electrolyte composition.

A summary of selected nutrients in commercial electrolyte products designed for oral rehydration of scouring calves. The comparison provided here assumes that products are mixed with water according the manufacturer's directions.