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Managing calves/young stock to optimise dairy herd health

Code: 9781786769350
John F. Mee, Teagasc, Ireland

Chapter synopsis: This chapter demonstrates that youngstock management can play a critical role in optimising dairy herd health. While the immediate impact of better calf management is visible to farmers in better youngstock health and growth, the long-term benefits in dairy herd productivity and survival need to be emphasised more by veterinarians and agricultural advisers. The most consistently reported management factors associated with reduced age at first calving (AFC), higher milk production and longer survival were feeding a larger volume of colostrum, offering a higher liquid feed volume preweaning, offering a higher solids milk replacer, offering whole milk and a higher average daily gain. The three health disorders most frequently associated with increased AFC, lower milk production and shorter survival were dystocia, calf diarrhoea and respiratory disease. These results have implications for producer perception and management of calfhood nutrition and health hazards and veterinary communication on calfhood disease sequelae with lag dynamics.

DOI: 10.19103/AS.2020.0086.11
Table of contents 1 Introduction 2 Costs of heifer rearing 3 Targets for heifer rearing 4 Start of the dairy herd health lifecycle 5 Impacts of calfhood nutritional management on subsequent dairy herd health 6 Impacts of calfhood diseases on subsequent dairy herd health 7 Role of vet in communicating best practice in youngstock management 8 Conclusion and future trends 9 Where to look for further information 10 References

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