Heifer Feeding and Management
A brief look at recent trends in the age at first calving for herds in Pennsylvania. This is an updated and expanded version of an article that appeared in Hoard's Dairyman.
Improving feed efficiency in heifers can be accomplished by increasing diet digestibility, increasing forage fiber (NDF) digestibility, stimulating rumen microbial digestion, optimizing—not maximizing—feed intake, maintaining the animal in an adequate environment, maintaining the heifer in optimal health and management, and maintaining optimal growth rates.
Provided the level of intake is restricted to allow for an optimal level of ADG, high concentrate, precision-fed rations can be fed to dairy heifers successfully. Precision feeding heifers has the potential to reduce feed costs, reduce nutrient excretion, and increase feed efficiency without compromising heifer growth or future lactation performance.
Dairy replacements are the foundation of any dairy enterprise. Improvement of a herd is possible when culled cows are replaced by well fed, healthy, genetically superior, and properly managed 2-year-old heifers.
French language version of "Management of Dairy Heifers".