Sound Nutrition Program Key to Healthy Heifers

All heifer raisers are working toward the same goal: to generate profits by introducing heifers into the milking string as soon as possible. But what differentiates a successful heifer raiser from an unsuccessful one?

Elliot Block, Animal Nutrition, Arm & Hammer, delved into this question in a recent issue of Progressive Dairyman. Heading straight to the experts, he asked three progressive producers and heifer raisers a series of questions to see how high-quality nutrition and management programs contribute to the long-term success of their operations.

Here are 4 important points that consistently appeared in their responses:
  • A sound nutrition program is absolutely essential for heifers to reach growth and breeding targets.

  • Feeding a high-quality, consistent ration directly affects the heifers’ rates of gain and conception rates.

  • Close monitoring of growth rates, overcrowding, and general heifer health must be a high priority for management and a team of well-trained employees.
  • The quality of care provided to heifers from birth lays the foundation for their future health and milk production as cows.

Noteworthy statement by interviewee Darin Mann, third generation heifer raiser:

“Nutrition plays an extremely important part in the success of our heifers… Even with the financial setbacks we have experienced over the past 18 months, we know how important it is to maintain ration quality and consistency. If we reduce the feed quality for our heifers, they will not reach the growth and breeding targets that our producer customers expect.” 

Source: “Heifer raising defines our success” article by Elliot Block. Progressive Dairyman Issue 12, August 11, 2010.

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