Engaging with farmers to improve calf health
There is now strong evidence that early life health and performance has significant impacts on the future productivity of heifers in the milking herd. With a reported 20% of calves receiving treatment for pneumonia and 25% for scour, and a staggering third of heifers failing to make their second lactation there is a clear need for improvement in heifer rearing practices. Despite this, a third of producers do not monitor age at first calving, heifer milk yield or mortality and only one in five regularly monitor heifer growth. There are clear economic and welfare benefits to improving calf health, yet it remains an area that is not prioritised by many farming enterprises. This session will discuss practicalities of delivering a proactive calf health monitoring service to help engage farmers in improving the performance of their heifers.