Experts share best calf care practices with local dairy producers

Published: Nov. 20, 2019 at 4:22 PM CST
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Experts say healthy, high performing dairy herds start with healthy calves.

Local dairy producers spent the day at Chippewa Valley Technical College to get a hands-on learning experience on treating and maintaining healthy calves.

The event was hosted by the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. Organizers say, both new farm employees and lifelong farmers, were able to gain new insight from today's workshop, where experts shared their knowledge on the overall health of dairy calves.

“It’s about professionalizing the dairy industry and recognizing that producers really strive to be the best,” said Dr. Jennifer Van Os of UW-Extension.

Producers were able to learn to pinpoint the signs of pneumonia. Dr. Theresa Ollivett, instructor, helped attendees identify and diagnose both clinical and subclinical dairy calf pneumonia by examining postmortem calf lungs and will share strategies for the most effective treatment options.

“When it comes to health, we need to make sure we’re working to keep as many calves healthy as possible and when they do get sick that our treatments are effective,” said Ollivett.

Participants also learned some of the most common causes of calf mortality and learned strategies that will enhance calf care and lead to better health results.

“The exciting thing for producers is learning something that they normally wouldn’t do because normally they wouldn’t cut open an animal to find out why it died,” said Dr. Franklyn Garry, academic veterinarian.

Another part of the workshop was on social housing. They reviewed the factors to consider when making a decision to move ahead with pair or group housing of calves.

“I think it's encouraging to know there's a large segment of Wisconsin producers that really wants to hear about the latest and greatest research to help them improve,” said Van Os.

With the current dairy climate, those involved say it's especially important for dairy producers to gain as much knowledge and insight as they can. The Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin say their main goal is to lead the success of the dairy industry through education.