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"Shaping the Future" is the theme of the 2020 Dairy Calf & Heifer Association (DCHA) Virtual Annual Conference. Attendees will gain valuable knowledge and practical strategies to build a strong future for their calf and heifer business enterprises. Wednesday, April 8
Jennifer Van Os, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Kim Reuscher, PhD Student, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Rekia Salter, MSc Student, University of Wisconsin, Madison-8:30am CST "Pair housing of calves can be done using outdoor hutches" An increasing number of dairy producers and calf raisers are pair or group housing calves. Many have seen benefits for calf development, growth, or welfare. But what about producers who currently house their heifer calves in individual hutches? Pair housing can be done by connecting existing hutches too. We will share some preliminary findings from our research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Our goal is to help producers identify low-barrier, practical solutions for successfully pair housing calves.
Jason Lombard, USDA Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health-9:30am CST "New passive transfer standards for dairy calves and how to achieve them"
Passive transfer is critical for the health and productivity of calves. Data from recent studies show that higher passive transfer levels are associated with lower morbidity levels in calves. New passive transfer standards will be presented and some guidelines on how to achieve the new standards.
Gavin Staley, Technical Services Specialist, Diamond V-10:45am CST "Why heifer maturity matters. The Peter Pan problem" Any production system should be evaluated by the final product of the process. This is also true of heifer raising. An evaluation of DairyComp305 production records sheds insight into the significant impact of heifer immaturity on whole herd production. Immature heifers leave a long shadow over a herd that cannot be remedied.
Sarah Adcock, Graduate Student, Tucker Lab, University of California, Davis-1:00pm CST "Disbudding practices: Present and future" Disbudding is a widespread practice in the dairy industry. How painful is disbudding, and what can we do to ease it? What steps can producers take to stay ahead of consumer concerns and changing industry standards for disbudding?
Chris Chase, Professor, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at South Dakota State University-2:00pm CST "Understanding the good, the bad and ugly of the innate immune response"
This presentation will focus on applying the latest information on the basic immune response to vaccines, timing and the immune cells involved and understanding the impact of nutraceuticals (i.e. probiotics and prebiotics) on calf health. It will also provide background on the innate immune cytokine storm, a perfect storm that involves a physiological component (negative energy balance) along with microbiome changes in the gut (diet change), resulting in poorer health and enhanced disease. In the end, it affects inflammatory pathways, which results in enhanced disease.
Grant Crawford, Manager of Beef Cattle Technical Services, Merck Animal Health-3:15pm CST "Managing and marketing dairy x beef crossbred cattle"
Dairy producers have started to take advantage of breeding their lower-genetic dairy cows to beef genetics to increase the value of the resulting offspring. This strategy has great potential benefit to the dairy operation. However, many questions remain regarding the best approach to manage this opportunity. This presentation will focus on the history of Holstein beef production, the current situation in crossbreeding, and dairy x beef crossbreeding considerations for success. Thursday, April 9
John Ellis, Professor, Department of Veterinary Microbiology at Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan-8:30am CST "Why aren't we all dead? Building on Mother Nature's plan for inducing adaptive immunity through vaccinations" Cattle, humans and other animals are born into a dirty world. A world filled with “germs”; viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms, many of which cause disease. Many of these microorganisms are endemic, or always there in the animal populations they infect. So, how does Mother Nature protect animals from infectious disease, and how can we learn from what she does and improve on Mother Nature’s “program” with vaccines.
Terri Ollivett, Assistant Professor in Food Animal Production Medicine section, University of Wisconsin, Madison-9:30am CST "Promoting a #WeanClean™ philosophy on your dairy" Respiratory disease in young cattle is a problem for most dairy farms and calf ranches. This lecture will describe the key steps needed to promote a #WeanClean™ philosophy and discuss how best to get your calves to and through the weaning process with ultrasonographically healthy lungs in order to minimize production losses, and maximize treatment efficacy and calf welfare.
Emily Yeiser Stepp, Senior Director, National Dairy FARM Program-10:45am CST "Dairy industry collaboration on animal care" Animal care is the cornerstone of any successful dairy business, whether that be a calf or heifer operation or more traditional dairy facility. The FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Program and DCHA continue to identify synergies between FARM and DCHA?s Gold Standards in order to bring value to the industry. Additionally, these synergies will help in demonstrating that our collective industry standards for animal care are recognized and respected throughout the entire dairy supply chain.
Michael Steele, Professor at the Ontario Agricultural College, Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph-11:45am CST "Calf nutritional management in 2030: Challenging the dogma" Over the past decade, dairy calf researchers have developed new concepts and technologies that will continue to evolve the way we manage calf nutrition on farm. Even with these advancements, there are still some key areas that require more attention, such as colostrum management, milk and milk replacer feeding, weaning strategies, post-weaning and precision nutritional management. The focus of this presentation will be to discuss the future direction of these key areas and predict how nutritional strategies will evolve over the next decade.