Thirty days after each new group of calves arrives at this custom-heifer raising facility, the owner gets a report card on how his heifers stack up. Each calf is measured for height and weight upon arrival. Then, a growth chart that plots each heifer against the average is printed. This gives producers an indication of how their heifers measure up against other heifers and alerts them to potential problems, explains Don Gardner, veterinarian and custom heifer-raiser in Huddleston, Va.

For example, when the report card showed one producer that his heifers were below average for height and weight, he investigated and found that employees were no longer feeding calves a coccidiostat because the supply had run out.