In April, the Dairy Calf & Heifer Association (DCHA) introduced its updated Gold Standards – the industry benchmarks and best management practices for raising dairy calves and heifers, and dairy-beef crosses. These standards guide dairy calf, dairy-beef and heifer raisers in growing the healthiest and most efficient and profitable dairy/dairy-beef animals possible.
“The Gold Standards have been developed using published data and input from DCHA leaders and advisers,” stated DCHA President Clint Al-Ag. “While individual herd goals, current level of attainment and geography may vary, the Gold Standards are meant to provide a framework for successful dairy replacement and dairy-beef raising. Dairy calf, dairy-beef and heifer raisers should use this information to identify areas for improvement, conduct training and implement plans that support the performance targets they want to attain.”
An easy-to-read document, which includes charts and graphs, the DCHA Gold Standards book integrates all pre-lactation ages into one document. It features performance and production standards – with animal welfare and best management strategies “top of mind.” Performance standards are the objective measures used to evaluate performance. Production standards are the recommended practices that enable achievement of performance goals. Industry-based research supports these standards.
“The DCHA Gold Standards strive to reflect positively on the dairy/dairy-beef industry and present a positive image to consumers,” Al-Ag added. Thus, the Gold Standards address newborn care, colostrum management, nutrition, health status, biosecurity, housing and environment, growth rate, reproduction and euthanasia.
DCHA members have access to the Gold Standards. If you’re not a DCHA member, go to: https://calfandheifer.org/member/membership-benefits to discover membership benefits and to join.
Individuals involved in revising the fourth edition of DCHA’s Gold Standards represent a wide range of professions, including calf ranchers, dairy producers, veterinarians, academia and nutritionists. Gold Standards Committee Members – Clint Al-Ag, Blue Sky Farms, Jason Anderson, Progressive Dairy Solutions, Inc., Brett Boyum, Riverview, LLP, Jamie Franken, City View Farms, Robert James, Down Home Heifer Solutions, Justin Graham, BrooksCo Dairy, David Mathes, DBC Ag Products, TJ McClure, Prairie Wind Heifer Development, Terri Ollivett, University of Wisconsin, Elizabeth Quinn Tommell, K.A. Sunset View Farm, and Pam Selz-Pralle, Selz-Pralle Dairy – shared their expertise and experiences to develop the fourth edition.
DCHA thanks the Gold Standards sponsors for providing financial support to edit, design and print the revised edition. Sponsors include Acepsis, Agri-Plastics, AMTS, LLC, Arm & Hammer, Calf-Tel, Casper’s Calf Ranch, LLC, Cottonwood Feeders, City View Farms, Dairy Tech, Inc., DBC Ag Products, DFA Animal Nutrition, Down Home Heifer Solutions, Esmilco, Inc., First Defense, GPS Dairy Consulting LLC, Hubbard an Alltech Company, Lallemand Animal Nutrition, Milk Specialties Global, Vaxxinova, Vita Plus and Zinpro.
The Dairy Calf & Heifer Association (www.calfandheifer.org) was founded in 1996 based on the mission to help dairy producers, calf managers and those professionally focused on the growth and management of dairy calves and heifers. With a national membership of producers, allied industries and research leaders, DCHA seeks to provide the industry’s standards for profitability, performance and leadership, serving as a catalyst to help members improve the vitality and viability of their individual efforts and that of their business.