If you want your heifers to freshen by 24 months of age, you need to work backward. That means establishing benchmarks that you need to achieve along the way so the heifers are of the size and frame you desire and they are healthy and ready to compete in the lactating herd.

However, there isn’t just one “right” way to raise a heifer. For example, some producers wean early; others feed milk or milk replacer for the traditional eight weeks. Yet, both groups are happy with the results.

Once weaned, then the question becomes “How much can she gain without impacting mammary development and future milk production?” A lot of research has been done to answer this very question.

The final obstacle on the way to that goal is getting heifers bred. A number of options exist -— bull breeding, timed A.I. and a host of other options. Which one will deliver the best results for your dairy?

This package of stories will help you focus on finding the right strategies to keep your heifers on schedule. We’ll share with you the economics of early weaning, reveal the latest research on growth and mammary development, and even explain a way to get heifers bred without having to watch for heats each day.

And while all of these tools may not be right for your operation, the important thing is to continually evaluate new information and decide what will work best for your particular situation.