Calves Are Your Future. Are You Investing Wisely? – Dr. Bob James & Ed Kreykes

Posted: August 10, 2021


Dr. Bob James, Down Home Heifer Solutions

Dr. Ed Kreykes, GPS Dairy Consulting

Episode : 21 Calves Are Your Future. Are You Investing Wisely?

Podcast Topic

Calves are the future of every operation and represent a huge investment in both time and money before they make it to the milking string. But those first two years are the foundation for the rest of their productive lives. Tonight, we get to talk all things calves. From colostrum processes to feeding protocols.


Dr. Bob James discusses the importance of raising dairy calves. Since the producer doesn’t see the end result, it can be hard for them to justify the cost of gain. He referenced the beef industry’s focus on calf development and how the dairy industry can work on calf health and their productivity later in life by focusing on nutrition and development within the beginning stages of life. 8:15

Dr. Ed Kreykes jumps in to discuss the importance of colostrum, testing colostrum, and pasteurizing colostrum if certain levels are reached during testing. He agrees with Dr. James that maternity pen maintenance, as well as cow and calf care and handling, is important especially within the first hour after birth. 12:02

Dr. Bob James provides insights into his research success with automatic feeders and how mortalities and morbidities were low. He also mentions and how he uses the blog to educate and teach producers how to use the automatic feeding systems. The technology is great, but producers need to understand the benefits and how to use the system properly. 21:00

Both our guests discuss the importance of having a good calf manager – an employee that excels at paying attention to the calves and notices the small details within the calf herd. Dr. Kreykes also mentions the “MBWA method” aka Management By Walking Around, and how visually observing the calves will provide different information than the automatic feeder. 28:08

Finally, Dr. Bob James shares research on average daily gain during the first 45 – 60 days of life and how it had as much impact on productivity as the animal’s genetics. He also highlights the mammary gland development and how nutrition can have a potentially positive effect on a cow’s later performance. 50:00

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This podcast is sponsored by Balchem Animal Nutrition and Health.