Heifers that grow too slowly compensate for their slow gains later on — at a cost to you. Heifers that grow too fast also cost you money.

For example, if a heifer weighs 1,000 pounds, and she is 100 pounds heavier than she should be, you pay the maintenance cost on those extra 100 pounds. “Steady growth rates are most economical,” says Jud Heinrichs, dairy scientist at Penn State University. Research consistently shows that a growth rate of 1.8 pounds per head per day is ideal for Holstein heifers.

Use the heifer-growth charts at the Penn State Dairy Cattle Nutrition Web site to help you plot and monitor your heifers’ growth.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://www-das.cas.psu.edu/dcn/calfmgt/GROWTH/index.html#charts