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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Purpose-built shed helps goat farm cut weaning age

Investing in a purpose-built rearing shed and adjusting kid management protocols have helped goat milk producer Will Frost to reduce age at weaning by up to two weeks. The 2019…


How dairy farmer makes over £6/kg from Jersey bull calves

When Devonshire dairy farmer Neil Weston switched from being a flying herd to breeding his own replacements it created an unwanted boom in dairy bull calves. But after being inspired…


How a bespoke calf barn cut antibiotic use and mortality

Switching from calf hutches to a bespoke calf rearing unit has slashed antibiotic use and is seeing zero mortality on a Canadian family farm. The Anderson family built the calf-specific…


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…


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…


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,…

Practical advice

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Outsourcing heifer rearing: What you need to consider

Heifer rearing is one of the most important jobs on the farm because they are the future of your herd. However, if you haven’t got the time, resource or facilities,…


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…


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…



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…


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…