Raising dairy heifers until they are ready to enter the milking herd is a substantial investment, so having a clear, detailed contract is important to outline the responsibilities and expectations of both parties.

In a recent Purdue Dairy Digest podcast, extension dairy specialist Tamilee Nennich explains some of the key details that need to go into a heifer-raising contract.

When writing a contract, one of the first details that need to be determined is how long the heifers will be raised and what stage or stages of growth the contract will cover. The next major consideration to determine is the cost of raising the heifers.

In addition to negotiating the cost for raising heifers, it is important to include details as to what the expectations are for heifer growth and development. Also be sure to discuss and outline these issues in your contract:

  • Who will absorb the cost when a heifer dies?
  • Which party pays for vaccinations and any veterinary expenses?
  • Person responsible for transportation costs.
  • Details and expectations for breeding heifers, if heifers will be raised during breeding.
  • Information on expected age and size at breeding, as well as person responsible for paying synchronization and breeding costs and how breeding decisions will be made.