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Canada’s OYF: Nominees from Manitoba

Brent and Kirsty Oswald are always looking for dairy efficiencies

Dairy farmers, Brent and Kirsty Oswald have been chosen as Manitoba’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2017. Brent, 35 and Kirsty, 31 operate Cottonwood Holsteins Ltd., a third-generation mixed grain and dairy farm near Steinbach. The Oswalds milk 140 cows and seed just under 2,500 acres of grain land. Their focus has always been on getting better […] Read more

Canada’s OYF: Nominees from Atlantic Canada

For Lauchie and Jolene MacEachern, fine-tuning management improves production

For the MacEachern family keeping their dairy cows, of course well fed, but also equally important — comfortable — is helping improve the efficiency and productivity of their central Nova Scotia dairy farm. Since they’ve have been owners of the Folly River Farm near Debert, N.S. for the past five years, Lauchie and Jolene MacEachern […] Read more

Canada’s OYF: Nominees from British Columbia

Gary and Marie Baars started with a dream, then realized it through hard work

Wanted: Energetic, inexperienced couple to work long days with few days off and no assurance of success. Interested? If not, you’re not alone, and you’re definitely not Gary and Marie Baars. The 2017 Outstanding Young Farmer Award winners from Chilliwack, B.C. didn’t let long odds and a shortage of experience hold them back, and now […] Read more

dairy cattle eating hay

Know your lactating dairy diet costs

Look to find a balance between very expensive and very cheap rations

Occasionally, I talk to dairy producers about the financial aspects of operating a barn, aside from dairy nutrition. All producers wish to reduce their lactating feed costs. One producer I know wants to switch to a notorious cheap protein supplement, while another wants to hire a private dairy consultant and tender out all dairy feed […] Read more

Feedlot Holsteins need powerful feeding programs

With proper ration and management, dairy steers make good beef

As I travel across Western Canada, I see more beef producers raising Holstein steers in their feedlots. Years ago, I didn’t think of Holstein steers as potentially profitable cattle, because I had a lot of misguided prejudices. However, my attitude did a complete “180” turnaround when I started working with a few successful Holstein producers […] Read more

Avoid giving your baby calves gut aches

It takes time for a calf stomach to develop to handle certain feeds

I visit literarily hundreds of dairy farms across Canada each year. On most, pre-weaned dairy calves are raised away from the main lactation barn or older replacement heifer facilities. Whether these baby calves are housed in hutches, group pens or brand-new calf barns, when I find a group of calves that are sick and not […] Read more

Controlling hairy heel warts in dairy cattle

A clean barn is part of preventative measures

Since the new year, I have travelled to many dairy farms across Western Canada and conducted a personal survey about lameness in dairy cattle. At each visit, I asked producers “What was their biggest cause of hoof problems?” Almost unanimously, their answer was “hairy heel warts!” This is no surprise, since multiple surveys conducted over […] Read more

Dairy Corner: How to optimize dry matter intake

Assess what’s happening at the feed bunk, supply proper ration

There is only one way I know to supply the essential nutrients to high-producing cows to yield large volumes of milk, milk-fat, milk-protein and solids — assure dairy cows optimize dry matter intake of good feed is at its best. As a dairy nutritionist, I am so convinced each bite of lactation diet counts that […] Read more

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