Many Wisconsin dairy farmers are breeding some of their dairy cows to beef. The calves from these matings are not raised as dairy replacements but are either raised by the dairy for beef or sold to a variety of calf and cattle operations. Dairy and dairy-beef calves that are sold as pre-weaned (wet) are particularly vulnerable to disease challenge as their young and immature immune system increases their susceptibility to disease.
Advances in dairy reproduction coupled with improvements in calf management have made it possible for many dairies to sort their heifers and cows for breeding to dairy or beef.
There are times when cattle producers need to come to the aid of a downed animal. The longer cattle are down, the more likely their weight and inactivity will damage circulation and nerve function to their underside muscles, which leads to a poor prognosis for recovery.
The umbilical cord is the lifeline between the cow and her fetal calf. Fetal oxygen, nutrients and wastes are exchanged through the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord is connected to the cow’s placenta and passes through the calf’s abdomen at the navel. The cord includes a pair of umbilical arteries and a single umbilical vein. […]
Feeding high-quality colostrum to the calf as soon as possible after birth is the most important thing you can do for calf health. The timely ingestion of adequate amounts of high-quality colostrum allow the calf to acquire passive immunity from the dam.
There are various castration methods, and it is recommended that castrations be performed in calves at the youngest age possible, preferably within three months of age. Using a proper castration procedure on a young calf can add more beef value at the time of marketing.
Horned cattle are discounted in beef markets. Using polled genetics is the best way to avoid having to remove horns. Beef genetics are often polled, but cross breeding with dairy cattle may result in horns. Monitor beef or beef x dairy crossbred calves during their first six weeks of life for the growth of horn buds and disbud immediately as they are identified.