Pre-weaned calves need extra water

Dairy Corner: Satisfying thirst also promotes good dry calf starter intake

Feeding milk replacer or whole milk does not provide enough water for growing pre-weaned dairy calves. Young calves have a natural requirement for water which is often higher and separate than what is provided by most milk-based feeding programs. By providing all the water needed, calves adapt to dry calf starter quicker, grow faster and […] Read more


Dairy Corner: Don’t overdo palm fat in dairy cattle rations

Palm fat can help increase milk fat, but more isn’t necessarily better

There has been an explosive use of palm fat in many dairy diets. This growth has been fuelled by the numerous incentive days issued by milk marketing boards to increase milk fat production in lactating dairy cows. On the plus side, I see a profitable milk fat increase on many farms because some bypass palm […] Read more



corn silage chopping

Right and wrong fermentation

Dairy Corner: If silage moisture is too high going in, it can affect feed quality and palatability

This autumn, I have seen a variety of corn fields being chopped into silage for dairy cattle. While some of this corn was dried enough to make some good quality corn silage, I was surprised when I saw some producers literarily harvested green chop. After all, they were faced with another rain shower, which forced […] Read more


Brown young calf in barn pen.

Dairy Corner: Good starter provides a good start

Make sure the starter has proper nutrients but also great taste

In recent years, I have seen a lot of pressure on dairy producers to feed more whole milk or milk replacer to their pre-weaned calves. University trials show baby calves fed high levels of milk turn it into superior bodyweight, girth and height at weaning, which make better future-lactating cows. Not to be overshadowed, there […] Read more







Cows leaving the dairy

Proper diet reduces risk of lame cows

A well-balanced ration and a clean barn are a great combination to keep dairy cows mobile

Recently, I conducted a barn walk in a 300-cow robot-milking dairy and within 10 minutes I spotted more than a half-dozen limping cows. I did not know what caused them to limp, but after I talked to the dairy manager, I discovered that lameness was a significant problem on his operation and several of these […] Read more



Hutch-reared calves need good diet and TLC

Keeping them dry, out of drafts and well fed leads to a healthier calf

Each year, I literarily see hundreds of preweaned dairy calves overwintered in outdoor calf hutches. Most perform well, but there are also more “poor doers” than I care to see. I find that each poor calf tells a similar story. Some of the mediocre calves are shivering, others are skinny, a few calves are coughing […] Read more


Test corn silage moisture for better milk production

The Dairy Corner: Dairy producers should test every time a new bag, bunk or silo is opened

There are three stages to the corn harvest in Manitoba. The first starts in September when the corn crop matures and whole plant moisture dries to about 35 per cent dry matter — it’s one of the best time to take off corn silage. The second occurs weeks later when the grain corn dries to […] Read more