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© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
AUTOMATED CALF FEEDERS ON
U.S. FARMS: HOW DO THEY WO...
Most dairy farms in the U.S. house preweaned calves
in individual hutches/pens (74.9%, NAHMS, 2007)
Advantages:
• No calf-to-calf contact
• All in – all out
• Good air quality (usually)
• Can move to new ground
• Easy to a...
4
© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
WHY FEED CALVES IN GROUPS?
 More space per calf
 S...
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© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
AUTOMATED CALF FEEDER
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© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
7
© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
8
© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE
CHALLENGES?
 Calf individual o...
9
© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
MANAGING AUTOMATED CALF
FEEDING SYSTEMS
 Majority o...
10
© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
WHAT CAN MAKE THEM WORK IN THE US?
GOAL: Develop be...
11
© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
REASONS GIVEN BY PRODUCERS FOR USING
AUTOMATED CALF...
12
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
What were some housing and
management practices?
38...
13
© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
New Barn 39%
Retrofit 61%
Autofeeder barn construct...
14
© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
VENTILATION
Positive
Pressure
Tubes 87%
No Tubes
13%
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© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
AmountofMilk/ReplacerFed(L)
F...
16
© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
AGE OF INTRODUCTION
Avg = 5.95 days
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© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
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© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
CALF LEVEL MEASUREMENTS
 Calf health scores
– Modi...
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© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
Attitude Ear Nose Eye...
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© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
CLEANLINESS SCORES
Scores Percent
0 58.1
1 32.5
2 9...
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© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
RISK FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH
ABNORMAL HEALTH SCORES...
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© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
FARM BACTERIAL COUNTS (CFU/ML)
22
Item
Tube
Colifor...
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© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
SUGGESTED PRACTICES
 Excellent colostrum managemen...
24
© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
SUGGESTED PRACTICES
 Careful, frequent observation...
Mark your calendars!
Precisiondairyfarming.com/2015
Thank you for your time and attention!
miendres@umn.edu
This project is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiat...
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Automated Calf Feeders on US farms: How do They Work?

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Dr. Marcia Endres presented this material for DAIReXNET on May 19, 2015. You can find more information and a recording of the webinar on our website at http://www.extension.org/pages/15830/archived-dairy-cattle-webinars

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Automated Calf Feeders on US farms: How do They Work?

  1. 1. 1 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. AUTOMATED CALF FEEDERS ON U.S. FARMS: HOW DO THEY WORK? Marcia Endres, DVM, PhD Department of Animal Science University of Minnesota, St. Paul
  2. 2. Most dairy farms in the U.S. house preweaned calves in individual hutches/pens (74.9%, NAHMS, 2007)
  3. 3. Advantages: • No calf-to-calf contact • All in – all out • Good air quality (usually) • Can move to new ground • Easy to assess appetite & attitude & detect disease Potential disadvantages: • Operator comfort • Labor intensive • Weather issues Godden, 2014
  4. 4. 4 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. WHY FEED CALVES IN GROUPS?  More space per calf  Social interaction  Easier to feed larger amounts of milk  More frequent feeding  Labor management
  5. 5. 5 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. AUTOMATED CALF FEEDER
  6. 6. 6 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. 7 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. 8 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES?  Calf individual observation  Prevention of disease  Competition for feed  Cost of equipment  Equipment setup  Equipment cleanliness
  9. 9. 9 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. MANAGING AUTOMATED CALF FEEDING SYSTEMS  Majority of research – Europe – Major differences:  Management practices  Economic impacts  Need to investigate housing and management on US farms
  10. 10. 10 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. WHAT CAN MAKE THEM WORK IN THE US? GOAL: Develop best management practices to optimize calf welfare and performance Photo Courtesy Andrew Hetke
  11. 11. 11 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. REASONS GIVEN BY PRODUCERS FOR USING AUTOMATED CALF FEEDERS (IN PRIORITY ORDER)  Less time spent on menial tasks  Improved growth rate  Improved information on calf feeding  Natural diet changes  Indicators of health issues  Closer to natural feeding  Improved labor condition  Reduction in labor cost  Social interaction/socialization  Behavioral expression  Reduced disease incidence
  12. 12. 12 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. What were some housing and management practices? 38 DAIRY FARMS VISITED EVERY TWO MONTHS
  13. 13. 13 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. New Barn 39% Retrofit 61% Autofeeder barn construction
  14. 14. 14 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. VENTILATION Positive Pressure Tubes 87% No Tubes 13%
  15. 15. 15 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 AmountofMilk/ReplacerFed(L) Farms Starting and Peak Volume of Milk/Milk Replacer Peak Amount (L) Starting Amount (L) Mean Starting Amount Mean Peak Amount
  16. 16. 16 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. AGE OF INTRODUCTION Avg = 5.95 days
  17. 17. 17 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  18. 18. 18 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. CALF LEVEL MEASUREMENTS  Calf health scores – Modified scoring system (McGuirk 2009)  Attitude – Ears – Eyes - Nose  Cleanliness (evidence of diarrhea)  Body condition  Rectal temperature (abnormal scores) – 10,179 calves scored by single observer  Mortality and treatment records  Feeding behavior from software
  19. 19. 19 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 Attitude Ear Nose Eyes Cleanliness ProportionofAbnormalAnimals Top 10 Farms vs. Bottom 10 Farms 10 Healthiest 10 Least Healthy Average of Health Scores
  20. 20. 20 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. CLEANLINESS SCORES Scores Percent 0 58.1 1 32.5 2 9.4 n=10,179
  21. 21. 21 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. RISK FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH ABNORMAL HEALTH SCORES  Number of calves per group  Number of feed stations per pen  Space per calf  Time to reach peak milk allowance  Air speed in resting area/ feeder  SPC on tube samples >100,000 cells/ml
  22. 22. 22 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. FARM BACTERIAL COUNTS (CFU/ML) 22 Item Tube Coliform Mixer Coliform Tube SPC Mixer SPC Median of Top 10 (Q1-Q3) 887 (206-1,211) 12 (3-15) 87,590 (32,603-134,940) 9,006 (2,308-9,392) Median of Bottom 10 (Q1-Q3) 5,659,567 (1,198,059- 14,344,063) 522,263 (64,564- 20,001,213) 21,140,625 (18,644,538- 71,642,610) 10,209,920 (3,204,500- 43,673,293)
  23. 23. 23 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. SUGGESTED PRACTICES  Excellent colostrum management  Excellent ventilation, no drafts  Clean, dry, abundant bedding  Minimum of 35-40 ft2 per calf  Free choice water and high quality starter pellet in pen Godden, 2014
  24. 24. 24 © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. SUGGESTED PRACTICES  Careful, frequent observation of calves to detect illness early  Smaller groups  Narrow range of ages  Do not restrict milk intake – Large meal and daily allowances Godden, 2014
  25. 25. Mark your calendars! Precisiondairyfarming.com/2015
  26. 26. Thank you for your time and attention! miendres@umn.edu This project is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative competitive grant no. 2012-67021-19280 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. • Matt Jorgensen and Amber Adams-Progar • Cooperator farms • Co-investigators • Undergraduate students • USDA-NIFA for funding Acknowledgements: Thank you for your attention!

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