Share

New Calf Care Resource from Penn State

Posted: January 4, 2005

Penn State researchers have developed a program to help you train employees responsible for calf care. The CalfTrack calf management training system includes standard operating procedures (SOPs) for many calf care tasks, an orientation video, a health scoring system, and a detailed reference manual. In addition, most materials are available in both English and Spanish.

Getting calves off to a good start is the first step in producing healthy, well grown replacement animals that are ready to enter the milking herd at 22 to 24 months of age. To meet this goal, employees must provide consistent, quality care for calves, particularly during the preweaning period.

Penn State researchers have developed a program to help you train employees responsible for calf care. The CalfTrack calf management training system includes standard operating procedures (SOPs) for many calf care tasks, an orientation video, a health scoring system, and a detailed reference manual. In addition, most materials are available in both English and Spanish.

The SOPs are presented as Chore Plans, step-by-step instructions with many photos and illustrations to clearly explain each concept. These SOPs can be used to train new employees or as a reference for experienced personnel. The health scoring system not only teaches employees how to observe animals, it also provides a recorded health history and offers a simple system of evaluating performance.

Topics covered by CalfTrack include: newborn calf management, colostrum management, feeding calves liquids and grains, cleaning and sanitation, evaluating calf environments, normal appearance and behavior, and routine health treatments.

The complete CalfTrack system is designed to help employees master daily calf-raising chores with confidence, independence, and a sense of accomplishment, while raising healthy dairy calves that can become productive and profitable herd replacements. It was specifically designed for farms that have multiple employees taking care of calves.

The CalfTrack program was developed by Dr. Jud Heinrichs and Coleen Jones of the Department of Dairy & Animal Science in partnership with Elanco Animal Health and Land O' Lakes Animal Milk Products. CalfTrack may be obtained by contacting Curt Larson of LOL Printing Services via phone: (515) 573-1710 or email: cnlarson@landolakes.com.

To learn more, visit the CalfTrack web site: http://calftrack.das.psu.edu/.

Jud Heinrichs
Dairy and Animal Science Extension