Feed more protein to heifers and they will grow taller. This belief is widely held in the industry, but it is only true to a point, says Pat Hoffman, dairy researcher at the University of Wisconsin’s Marshfield Agricultural Research Station.

The neonatal calf uses protein more efficiently than an older heifer. For every 10 grams of protein consumed, a calf deposits 7 of those grams in her body. An older heifer, on the other hand, deposits only 1.3 out of 10 grams of protein in her body.

“Spend your money on protein during the first year of life, and try to reduce protein cost the second year of life,” Hoffman advises.