LIC | Getting Yearling Heifers in Calf


Getting Yearling Heifers in Calf

Yearling heifer mating is fast approaching – have you got it sorted?

No matter what the payout the fundamental principles remain the same.

 

Heifers & Puberty

 

Undergrown Heifers

Heifers must reach puberty to cycle and get in calf. Puberty is driven by liveweight in cattle (about 47% of mature liveweight on average)

  • Check their weight
  • Enter weights into MINDA to see how they are tracking
  • Check growth rates
  • Check to see if they are all cycling

There may still be time to flush them up, as a group or with poor individuals. Very small heifers are a poor investment. It may be more economic to cut your losses now on the poorly performing tail-enders.

  • Check the feed plan with your grazier.
  • Some synchrony programmes can advance reaching puberty, if the line is undergrown. Talk to your vet.
  • Keep them growing. They need to catch up before they are 22 months if they are to survive and thrive in the herd. 

 

Heifer Cycles

 

Heifer Health

Heifers take about 10 days longer to cycle once they calve down as 2 year olds
 

  • Mate yearling heifers 7 -10 days ahead of the main herd to help them next year. 

Don’t let animal health disasters rob you of pregnancies.
 

  • Create a sound heifer health plan to keep them growing and pregnant

 

Service Bulls

 

Replacement Heifers

Service bulls need to be sound and suitable. A difficult calving or a slow calving pattern as 2 year olds can set heifers back badly.
 

  • Sufficient numbers of high quality healthy bulls is a must for natural mating heifers.
  • Select bulls carefully to be easy calving and fertile.
  • Reject aggressive bulls and monitor bull performance in the heifer mob.
  • Yearling bulls- use 1:20 heifers, 2 year olds 1:30
  • Ensure they are fully BVD tested and vaccinated. Sight the vet certificate.

Replacement heifers are a big investment, in most cases costing over $1200 to rear through to a milking cow. It costs the same to rear a high BW animal as a low BW one.
 

  • Review your replacement rate and replacement quality- invest the money in the best genetics merit animals.
  • Rear the number that suits your business needs and future plans.
  • If grazing is limited, it may make put the money into fewer higher quality aniimals.

 

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