Growth Charts for Dairy Heifers

Comparing to a breed standard can indicate if heifer growth is progressing normally.
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Growth Charts for Dairy Heifers

Introduction

Heifer growth is often compared to breed standards to determine 'normal' progress. We designed breed-specific, printable Growth Charts that may be used to plot heifer growth by hand. The charts are based on the results of measuring a large number of heifers of various breeds throughout the United States during 1991 and 1992. Most of the data was collected from herds in which the average age at first calving was slightly greater than 24 months. As a result, the heifers probably were smaller for any given age than those found on today's well-managed dairy farms that calve heifers at 22 to 24 months of age.

The Holstein heifer growth charts indicate several percentiles of the U.S. population, allowing a producer to compare an individual heifer to all others and to set growth goals. Keeping a majority of heifers near the 75th percentile and the entire herd between the median and the 95th percentile is an achievable goal.

For all other breeds, the recommended growth ranges shown are between the average and the top 67th percentile of the population. To achieve early calving (24 months or less) and high production potential, individual heifers should fall near the top of or slightly above the range shown.

Holstein Growth Chart

Holstein Heifer Growth

U.S. Holsteins Weight by Month of Age

U.S. Holsteins Withers Height by Month of Age

Body weight (pounds) and withers height (inches) of U.S. Holstein heifers as measured in the National Dairy Heifer Evaluation Project (1991-92). For each age, percentile data1 are presented to show the range of performance observed. Recommended ranges are between the 75th and 95th percentiles.
Age
(months)
Body WeightWithers Height
5th25th50th75th95th5th25th50th75th95th
1821021191361432930313333
21131491611892383032333437
31491822112342843134353638
41892342582843393335363840
52182753113394113437383942
62663203694224803638404144
73013694224685423740414345
83304224685306033841434447
93794685305967053942434547
104225175756537764143454649
114455566387127764244464749
125045966827608434345474851
135046607288099134346474951
1454269777687810264447485052
1558274484393110674347495153
1665382691398810964648505153
17682860931102611914649505254
18744895969106611914749515254
197769131007108612794850515254
207769501066117013024750515357
217929881086119113724850525456
2284310261148123514204951525457
2380910661148127914204951535457
2477610261170130115454852535557

Average age at first calving 25.9 ± 0.1.
1Percentiles describe the percentage of observations that fall below that level; for example, 25% of the heifers at a given age weighed less than the value listed under the 25th column. The 50th percentile is the median; half of the observations fall below this value and half fall above it.

Recommended range of hip height and width for Holstein heifers.
Age
(months)
Hip Height
(inches)
Hip Width
(inches)
236.039.57.08.0
439.042.09.010.0
642.044.511.012.0
844.047.012.513.5
1046.049.013.515.0
1248.051.015.2516.5
1449.552.516.517.5
1651.053.517.518.5
1852.054.518.519.5
2053.055.519.2520.25
2253.055.520.020.75

Data compiled from U.S. and Pennsylvania Holsteins.
Range represents the average and 1 standard deviation above the average.

Jersey Growth Chart

Jersey Heifer Growth

Recommended range of body weight and withers height for Jersey heifers.
Age
(months)
Body Weight
(pounds)
Withers Height
(inches)
1931082932
21221463033
31551773234
41832173436
52332783538
62593213639
73033623840
83354123941
93734364042
103914834042
114284994143
124715484244
135005714345
145356024445
155656404446
165836614546
176096964547
186397534547
196517694647
206988134648
217198274748
227588604749
237608784849
247908934850

Data from the National Dairy Heifer Evaluation Project (1991-92). Heifers in this survey had an average age at first calving of 24.9 ± 1.8 months.
Recommended ranges represent the 50th to 67th percentile. Percentiles describe the percentage of observations that fall below that level.

Brown Swiss Growth Chart

Brown Swiss Heifer Growth

Recommended range of body weight and withers height for Brown Swiss heifers.
AgeBody Weight
(pounds)
Withers Height
(inches)
11341633234
21872233436
32402833638
42933433740
53454033942
63964624044
74475214245
84985804346
95486374448
105976944549
116457504650
126938054751
137398594852
147859124952
158299634953
1687210135054
1791410615054
1895511075155
1999411525155
20103211945256
21106812355256
22110312735256
23113613095357
24116713435357
25119713745357

from the National Dairy Heifer Evaluation Project (1991-92). Heifers in this survey had an average age at first calving of 27.0 ± 1.7 months.
Recommended ranges represent the 50th to 67th percentile. Percentiles describe the percentage of observations that fall below that level.

Guernsey Growth Chart

Guernsey Heifer Growth

Recommended range of body weight and withers height for Guernsey heifers.
Age
(months)
Body Weight
(pounds)
Withers Height
(inches)
11221433133
21661933335
32032333537
42552993738
52993543841
63664344042
73844484143
84335034244
94825684347
105115884446
115746624547
125766744648
136437564648
146968034749
157408664850
167798994951
178309505052
1886410015052
1990010155152
2091410465153
2196711125153
2299611235254
23102511775254
24102611785255

Data from the National Dairy Heifer Evaluation Project (1991-92). Heifers in this survey had an average age at first calving of 26.2 ± 2.0 months.
Recommended ranges represent the 50th to 67th percentile. Percentiles describe the percentage of observations that fall below that level.

Ayrshire Growth Chart

Ayrshire Heifer Growth

Recommended range of body weight and withers height for Ayrshire heifers.
Age
(months)
Body Weight
(pounds)
Withers Height
(inches)
11311543132
21772053234
32232563436
42693073638
53153573739
63604073941
74054574042
84505064143
94945544244
105386024345
115816504446
126246974547
136667434648
147077894648
157488344749
167878784849
178269224850
188649654850
1990110074950
2093710494951
2197210894951
22100611295052
23103911685052
24107012065052
25110112445153

Data from the National Dairy Heifer Evaluation Project (1991-92). Heifers in this survey had an average age at first calving of 27.6 ± 1.8 months.
Recommended ranges represent the 50th to 67th percentile. Percentiles describe the percentage of observations that fall below that level.

Milking Shorthorn Growth Chart

Milking Shorthorn Heifer Growth

Recommended range of body weight and withers height for Milking Shorthorn heifers.
Age
(months)
Body Weight
(pounds)
Withers Height
(inches)
11281603132
21752103334
32232623436
42723153638
53203703739
63694253741
74184824042
84675394143
95155964244
105646534345
116117094446
126587654547
137058204647
147508744648
157949264749
168389774749
1788010254850
1892010714850
1995911154950
2099711554951
21103311924951
22106612265051
23109812565052
24112812815052
25115513035152

Data from the National Dairy Heifer Evaluation Project (1991-92). Heifers in this survey had an average age at first calving of 26.5 ± 1.6 months.
Recommended ranges represent the 50th to 67th percentile. Percentiles describe the percentage of observations that fall below that level.

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