Calf & Heifer Management
Two years ago, two former UNL Animal Science graduate student colleagues, Kim Clark (M.Ag. ’09 from UNL) and Hugo Ramirez-Ramirez (M.S. ’11 and Ph.D.’13 from UNL), began discussing the needs of dairy producers in Nebraska and Iowa. Clark, a dairy extension educator at the University of Nebraska and Ramirez-Ramirez a dairy extension specialist at Iowa State University both attended graduate school together under the direction of Dr. Paul Kononoff, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln dairy extension specialist. Jennifer Bentley, a dairy field specialist at Iowa State University also joined Clark and Ramirez-Ramirez on the team.
It is no secret that colostrum provides the antibodies a calf needs to build immunity. The antibodies, specifically called immunoglobulins in colostrum, are absorbed in the calf’s small intestine in the first few hours of life. After the first four hours of life, the absorption of immunoglobulins decreases. Therefore, it is important that newborn calves receive colostrum within four hours of birth.
The calf care you provide in the first few hours and days of a calf's life will have a major impact on growth and production for the next several years.