Rosemary Salazar, Calf Manager at Cow Palace Dairy in Sunnyside, Washington along with Jeff Boivin, General Manager, share the importance of raising healthy calves. Healthy calves become healthy cows. The Cow Palace Dairy boasts a 3% death rate: for every 100 calves that are born, only three do not survive. This death rate is well below the national average, which is somewhere between eight and ten percent. The work starts with keeping the momma cows healthy. Around twenty-five calves are born on the dairy every day. From there, Rosemary checks on the calves in the maternity pin. Getting the calves started out on the right foot with colostrum is critical. If a calf doesn't needed to be treated during its youth, there's a very good chance it will grow up to be part of the herd and produce an excellent quality dairy product.
Rosemary: In order to get good healthy cows back into our parlor they need to start healthy.
Jeff: We want this farm to be better than other farms in the nation. And one area that has really excelled is our calf area. Rosemary is our calf manager. We have maintained under a 3% death loss for the last year. I think the national average is right between 8 and 10 percent, and we’re cranking right down now to one percent. If we start that calf out well down at the maternity pin, and we give them the colostrum, and they get a good start and we never have to treat that calf during calfhood, then she’ll grow up to be a very good production cow because she’s never had any setbacks.
Rosemary: We have 25 calves being born a day, and our goal is to keep those 25 calves in our herd. This is our herd, my herd and everybody that works here. I take a lot of pride in what we do and make sure we do it right.