Successfully transitioning replacement heifers into the milking herd is a critical process for a dairy’s overall success.
The Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council (DCRC) has developed a white paper specifically addressing heifer reproduction. Included in the document are the following suggested goals for Holstein heifer reproduction:
- Average daily gain -- 1.8 lbs. per day
- Weight at first breeding -- 800 lbs.
- Age at first calving -- 22 to 24 months
- Weight at first calving -- 1,350 to 1,400 lbs.
- Weight after first calving -- 1,250 lbs.
- Height after first calving -- 54 inches or greater
- Body condition score at first calving -- 3.25 to 3.5
[Adapted from Vandehaar (2001) and Hoffman (1997)]
Read DCRC’s advice on achieving these goals at http://www.dcrcouncil.org/newsletters/heifer-reproduction.aspx.