independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Maiden heifers reaching their targets has to be a priority ahead of mating season

WHEN it comes to maiden heifers, the plan is to ensure they reach their target liveweight by the time of mating.

Given the tough time weanlings had in 2012, coupled with poor silage quality, ensuring they make their weight by mating time has to be top priority this spring.

Heifers need to reach at least 60-65pc of their mature body weight at breeding to avoid calving and health problems next year.

Targets are listed in table 1. Ideally heifers will be soon out on grass to promote liveweight gain.

Weighing heifers before turnout may aid you in forthcoming management decisions.

If there are a proportion of smaller heifers in your batch, consider separating these off to run as a separate group for preferential feeding.

Disease and parasite control

Make sure the maiden heifers have been treated for parasites during the housed period.

As with dairy cows, if liver or rumen fluke is a problem, a final dose may be required to treat fluke prior to turnout.

Vaccination for BVD and Leptospirosis should also be considered two months prior to mating to allow time for a booster shot.

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