Finding quality replacement heifers has been a challenging task for many dairy producers during the past year.
Elliot Block, senior manager of central and tech services at ARM & HAMMER Animal Nutrition, offers these suggestions for building a reliable, quality supply of replacements from WITHIN the dairy operation.
Optimize rumen function. This will allow heifers to develop faster and reach breeding size sooner. Consider providing amino acids, peptides and non-protein nitrogen and other rumen-fermentation enhancers to get these animals into the milking string sooner.
Improve reproductive performance. This will increase the number of calves a herd produces each year. “Research shows that the essential fatty acids delivered by certain bypass fats can improve pregnancy rates by as much as 19 percent when fed at the recommended rates,” Block says.