Farm Health and Productivity Management of Dairy Young Stock
by Siert-Jan Boersema, Joao Cannas da Silva, John Mee, Jos Noordhuizen February 2010
The rearing of young stock until calving is often neglected on dairy farms, compared to the management of adult cattle. It is often not realized that young stock represent a critical investment in the future of the dairy farm and that sufficient attention should be paid to the rearing period to safeguard that investment and to gain efficiency. Optimal weight gain and health during rearing are essential. The ultimate goals are that the heifer, after her first calving, enters into milk production to her fullest genetic potential and that she will have an optimal health and longevity in the herd.
A population medicine approach is used to focus on healthy animals which bring profit rather than costs. Practical tools are provided to manage the complexity of young stock rearing. This approach provides the farmer with structure, planning, organisation and coaching. Risk identification and risk management, like in bio-security and in quality risk management, are key aspects of the population medicine approach. Practical examples are added to illustrate the points. Finally, a section on diseases in young stock is added as a quick reference guide. This book is a valuable reference for practising veterinarians, herd health practitioners, extension officers and other farm advisors, as well as dairy farmers.