Special diet prevents fat heifers

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Courtesy of alvaro garcia, south dakota state university

The heifers at Tom and Cathy Fabris’ 250-cow dairy are “doing remarkably well” on a diet containing fresh wet distillers grains, shredded corn stalks and a vitamin-mineral supplement.

Before they started feeding the diet one-and-a-half years ago, heifers at the Castlewood, S.D., dairy used to be “a little too fat,” says Tom Fabris. Now, heifers gain “equally well, if not better than industry standards,” without getting too fat, he says.

Plus, by replacing more-expensive ingredients, like alfalfa hay and corn silage, with wet distillers and corn stalks, Fabris was able to trim his heifer-feed cost by 40 percent.

Heifers start on the diet when they reach 350 pounds and continue on it until calving.

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