NEW PRAGUE, Minn. — Register for the 2023 Dairy Calf & Heifer Association (DCHA) Annual Conference and Trade Show – scheduled for April 11-13, in Prior Lake, Minn. This year’s conference revolves around the theme “Commitment to Excellence” and coincides with the unveiling of the newly revised DCHA Gold Standards – the industry’s benchmarks and best management practices, which are intended to guide dairy calf, dairy-beef and heifer raisers in growing the most healthy, efficient and profitable dairy/dairy-beef animals possible.
To register for the DCHA conference, go to: https://bit.ly/DCHA2023Conf.
Ross Bernstein, a best-selling author of nearly 50 sports books, headlines the event with “The champion’s code: Building relationships through life lessons of integrity and accountability from the sports world to the business world.” An award-winning, Hall of Fame, peak-performance, business speaker, he has keynoted conferences on all seven continents. His mission is to get people thinking differently about how they can raise their games to the next level.
DCHA Conference Program Chair David Casper encourages calf, heifer and beef x dairy growers and consultants to attend this engaging event. “Learn and see what growers are doing to address challenges they are experiencing on their operations,” he stated. “Gain knowledge from producers’ experiences and discover how to effectively use data on your calf, heifer and beef x dairy operations. Plus, you won’t want to miss the DCHA trade show, which highlights the latest products for raising calves, heifers and beef x dairy crosses.”
The April 11 program kicks off with two optional tours. NexGen Dairy, Eden Valley, Minn., is a third-generation farm that milks 1,000 Jersey and Jersey-cross cows. The dairy’s state-of-the-art transition facility includes a wet calf room, separate fresh cow parlor and calf milk processing room. All heifers – from birth through breeding – are raised on site. Calves at NexGen are group raised but individually fed in a new calf facility that is powered with a 40kW solar energy system. The other tour group will visit Huntington Bank Stadium and the University of Minnesota Laboratory of Meat Science.
At 2 p.m. on April 11, this year’s educational program starts with two pre-conference sessions – one sponsored by Land O’Lakes and one by STgenetics. Tom Earleywine of Land O’Lakes will address “How do we raise better beef crosses starting at the calf?” He explains that beef cross-calves (dairy dams bred to beef sires) are an increasingly important part of the dairy and beef industries. To provide the best beef crosses for feedlots and packers, these calves need to get off to the best start possible. This presentation will cover calf nutrition and management practices required to make the best finished dairy-beef crosses.
Ben Voelz of STgenetics will discuss “The genetic fingerprint of efficient feed conversion in beef-on-dairy cattle.” Selecting for genetics that are more feed efficient provides members of the value chain with more savings and provides valuable insight on management needs. This presentation will explore how the genetic fingerprint of feed efficiency in beef-on-dairy crosses is significant for all parties involved in the beef-on-dairy lifecycle.
Positioning for the future
The 2023 DCHA General Sessions feature “Where have we been and where are we going?” with Dave Kuehnel, Rule of Three Solutions, LLC, and “Overcoming challenges in dynamic dairy climates,” a panel of calf raisers, moderated by Peggy Coffeen, Uplevel Dairy. Kuehnel will focus on proactive conversations around changes in calf care. He will review his historical perspectives on calf management, including nutrition, genetics, health and labor strategies, and share his thoughts on where these strategies are going in the upcoming years.
During the panel discussion, calf raisers will share their stories of “stepping up” to take on challenges, such as environmental management, consumer and community relations, calf health and nutrition, and labor, and leave the audience with key takeaways to position their operations for the future.
Breakouts feature specialty areas
- Panel discussion: “Finding and keeping great employees,” moderated by Ann Hoskins of Vita Plus
- Panel discussion: “Perspectives on group housing,” moderated by Ben Ekern of Hampel’s Calf Tel
- It takes a team: Finding the value in source farm communications, by Dave Renaud, University of Guelph
- Producer panel: Turning data into dollars: How these producers make their data work for them, moderated by Matt Boyle, Zoetis
- Heifer nutrition: Balancing value and cost, by Paul Dyk, GPS Dairy Consulting
- Heifer management: Balancing value and cost, by Mike Overton, Zoetis
Beef x Dairy
- What traits matter when beef genetics are used on dairies? by Luke Fuerniss, Texas Tech University
- Beef x dairy systems panel: What are your differentiating factors? moderated by Jeff Langemeier, SCCL – URUS
- Neonatal calf development and nutrition, by Jon Robison, JDR Livestock Management Services, Inc
To make your DCHA Annual Conference and Trade Show hotel reservations, go to: https://bit.ly/DCHA2023HOTEL.
The Dairy Calf and 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 an international 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.
–Dairy Calf and Heifer Association