Dairyinfo April 2012

Feed costs comprise 55 to 60 percent of the total cost of rearing dairy replacement heifers, so keeping a sharp eye on feed expenses can have a tremendous impact on enterprise profitability. Pat Hoffman, dairy scientist and heifer management specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says managing feed costs need not mean sacrificing heifer quality. To achieve both, he recommends:

  • Understand heifer nutritional requirements – The nutritional requirements of heifers are much different than those of lactating cows. Use published guidelines specifically for heifers when formulating rations, and work with a knowledgeable dairy nutritionist.
  • Adjust ration to changing environment – Energy adjustments based on environmental conditions are important for heifers, because they often are reared in conditions outside of thermal neutrality. This is especially true for younger heifers (<300 pounds).
  • Avoid over-conditioning – Too much energy in the ration adds up to unnecessary expense plus over-conditioned heifers. Those animals are more prone to calving difficulties and metabolic diseases at freshening.

Regular Mail:
Renaissance Nutrition, Inc.
PO Box 229
Roaring Spring, PA 16673

Overnight/Next Day:
Renaissance Nutrition, Inc.
339 Frederick Road
Roaring Spring, PA 16673


Phone: 1.800.346.3649
E-mail: rennut@rennut.com

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