Heifer Reproduction: How can we influence performance?
If dairy producers can quickly state one metric from their herd’s performance, it is probably pregnancy rate of the adult herd. We wear it like a badge of honor and we give awards for achieving extreme reproductive efficiency in milking animals. On the other hand, for many farms, heifer reproduction is not firing on all cylinders. When we examine the records, not only are heifers becoming pregnant at a slower rate than the adult herd, but often at a rate we would NEVER accept in the adult herd! When a heifer’s rearing cost is not fixed until she becomes pregnant and overall heifer rearing costs are one of the biggest costs associated with milk production, why do we accept this? Accept it no more.
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