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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YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

Video: How a large dairy is keeping youngstock mortality low

A large US dairy is achieving exceptionally low mortality rates of 1% in its pre-weaned calves, and hitting daily growth rates of 800g up to weaning. About 1,800 calves will…

WHATS IN YOUR LIVESTOCK SHED

What's in your Livestock Shed? A £50k youngstock conversion 

A purpose-built youngstock shed has reduced labour requirements and improved the health of heifer replacements at a Welsh dairy farm. The Jones family returned to milk production in 2012 after…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

How calf rearers have drastically reduced pneumonia cases

Thomas Williams has drastically reduced calf pneumonia by 36% since erecting a purpose-built calf unit.  Mr Williams, who farms with his parents Robert and Angela and wife Michelle in Ellesmere,…

HOUSING AND HANDLING

Family dairy saves money by making their own calf hutches

Dairy newcomers the Courtier family from Dartmoor switched from group housing calves to single hutches they designed and made themselves, to save money. Julian Courtier, who manages the 350-cow spring-…

WHATS IN YOUR LIVESTOCK SHED

What’s in Your Livestock Shed? visits a Gold Cup winner

What makes a Gold Cup winner? We look at some of the buildings and technology behind Washfold Farm’s success. Metcalfe Farms in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, is owned and run by…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

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…

Practical advice

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HEALTH AND WELFARE

Q&A: Pneumonia in calves and how to combat it

Young calves have a big surface area for their body size, which means they can lose heat very quickly. This, combined with the fact their immune system is not yet…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

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…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

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…

Insights

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

7 risk factors of pneumonia in calves and how to avoid them

Buying calves from multiple sources and feeding calves only once a day could be putting animals at risk of getting pneumonia, a study has found. AHDB assessed data from eight…

FEED AND NUTRITION

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…

LIVESTOCK

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…

LIVESTOCK

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…

LIVESTOCK

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…