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How to Increase the Marketability of Beef-on-Dairy Calves


Many farms have become more innovative over the past few years by implementing beef genetics into their breeding programs. There have been two main advantages to adopting beef on dairy: management of replacement numbers and increased market value of the calves leaving the farm. A Wisconsin study found that 65% of the farmers surveyed sell their dairy beef crosses within the first week of birth, while 12.5% raised them to finish. No matter when beef cross calves are being marketed, steps can be taken to make them more marketable.

Don't Skip Day One of Calf Care

The calves are not staying on the farm, but they should be treated like any other replacement animal. Dip navels with 7% iodine, administer proper vaccinations, and feed high-quality colostrum. Colostrum should be greater than 50 IgG to be considered high quality. Some farms have concerns about using their high quality colostrum on calves that may leave the farm. Many farms have had luck keeping their colostrum stocked by saving 50 to 70 lgG colostrum for market calves and greater than 70 for replacement heifers. Just like with replacement heifers, ensure colostrum is fed within a couple of hours of birth.


By DEREK NOLAN

January 16, 2024

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