Know How / Dairy / Youngstock management

Youngstock management is a crucial part of dairy herd profitability with replacement heifers key to the future milking herd and dairy-bred beef a vital source of income. Read advice on newborn calf care, disease prevention, genetics, growth rates, replacement heifer policy and first-time breeding protocols.

Case studies

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How Irish dairy farmer saves €8,000 with calf-rearing method

Dairy farmers Michael and Shirley Bateman have slashed €8,000 (£7,028) off their calf-rearing bill by weaning calves off milk at six weeks of age. Michael Bateman first saw the rearing…


How Co-op’s scheme keeps calves in the supply chain

Food retailer the Co-operative Group is expanding a calf scheme that integrates its dairy and beef supply chains. The scheme provides an outlet for all dairy/beef calves, including dairy bulls…


How one farm is achieving 96% calving in 6 weeks

A tight calving period is a key driver of profit on any block calving dairy unit, enabling farmers to make the most out of labour and drive other efficiencies. One spring-calving…


Monitoring growth and vaccination helps farmer cut pneumonia

Vet Alex Cooper of Fenton Vets says monitoring calf growth rates flagged up pneumonia issues early, allowing prompt action to be taken on his client’s farm in Pembrokeshire. Calf Tracker,…


Farm uses artificial colostrum to tackle Johne's disease

One Dorset farm has updated its Johne’s control strategy to include feeding artificial colostrum to heifer calves and is consequently on track to eliminate the disease in the next three…


How a Cumbria farmer improved calf health and growth rates

Fine tuning calf management at Strickley Farm, Kendal, has also helped improve calf performance and has revealed long-term benefits by reducing age at first calving. James Robinson, who has 130…

Practical advice

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How to manage colostrum and minimise calf losses

Father and son Derek and Adam Smith are keeping calf losses to a minimum by maintaining a closed herd, managing cow body condition and being extra vigilant at calving. Their…


Everything you need to know about automatic calf feeders

Many dairy farmers and calf rearers are moving to automatic milk feeders to reduce labour input. We look at what kind of management they require, how to get the best…


How to tackle cryptosporidium in calves

Cryptosporidiosis is the major cause of calf scour in UK beef and dairy herds and has been identified in samples from more than 40% of diagnosed infectious diarrhoea cases. Infected…


Complete guide to feeding newborn heifers

The first few hours of a calf’s life determine how that animal will go on to perform throughout its lifetime.   Calving by two years old is now deemed a…


Q&A: How to prevent and treat coccidiosis in calves

Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease usually seen in young beef and dairy calves aged between three weeks and six months. Infection is chiefly dependent on the level of challenge they…


5 essential ingredients for good calf housing

Before deciding on the best calf housing there are five key areas that must be considered to ensure the calf is kept in the best environment. Below Jamie Robertson at…



What are the benefits of milk replacer for calf rearers?

More than half of all dairy and beef farmers in Great Britain now rear their youngstock on calf milk replacer (CMR) instead of whole milk, with potential disease risks a…


Why textbook heifer growth rates may not be good enough

Dairying experts at home and abroad are questioning whether units are achieving heifer growth targets of 0.7-0.8kg/day and if this gain is sufficient for the modern Holstein. Concerted efforts to…


Pneumonia in calves: Pin down the cause and prevent it

Bacteria that cause pneumonia are fairly widespread and can live in a calf’s respiratory tract without causing disease. In the final part of this series, Caroline Stocks looks at what…


Pneumonia in calves: How farmers can cut the risk

The aim of Farmers Weekly’s new series is to help farmers reduce the costs of pneumonia
in calves. Caroline Stocks sets the scene with 
a look at the results of an…