In replacement rearing, no phase has greater potential for decreasing production costs and increasing profitability than the period prior to weaning.
A healthy calf crop provides replacement animals for the future of the dairy operation. However, a busy work environment often causes the neonatal calf to become overlooked, leading to consequences that may be irreversible. It is important to understand that the neonate must consume sufficient colostrum as soon after birth as possible to achieve the needed passive immunity to survive the first few weeks of life.
Replacement heifers represent the future of the dairy farm. When deciding the best way to manage the heifer enterprise, dairy producers should realize that they have several options.
Many producers use early weaning programs to lower the costs of feed and labor. Calves tend to scour less when consuming solid feeds compared with liquid feeds. As a result, health costs may decrease.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture