Somehow, the idea of raising replacements got put on the back burner. When corn was about $2 a bushel, it was easy to just feed a few buckets of grain to the heifers, Horner said.
“Now grain is a major expense in raising replacements on conventional dairy farms,” he said. “Grazing has become something any dairy farmer can use to cheapen production costs.”
On July 7, one of four featured farm tours will be at Friend Heifer Ranch, Aurora, Mo. This operation raises replacements for New Zealand milking herds located in southwest Missouri.
“New Zealanders have a way of cutting almost all grain from their heifer development,” Horner said. “Intensive management includes growing quality forages and rotating to fresh grazing paddocks about every day. Quality grass can meet the nutritional needs of growing heifers.”
Much of the grazing conference will be on how to grow and manage quality grass that supports milk production.
Go to http://agebb.missouri.edu/dairy/ for registration and details.
Fees are $150 per person with an added $100 per person from the same farm. Registrations can be made by mail, fax or phone.
After June 20, registration will cost an added $25.
Members of the Missouri Dairy Association will be reimbursed $100 per farm.
The fee includes three meals, trade show and tour tickets. Lodging is at the Joplin Holiday Inn.
Organizers will post proceedings on the website after the conference, or a book can be purchased for $25.
“The conference topics appeal to more than just dairy graziers,” Horner said. “Every producer benefits from learning to cut costs.
“We’d like to see a good turnout from area producers,” he added. “We have more producers from Ireland, Australia or New Zealand than we have from some adjoining counties.”
Attica Veterinary Associates has some additional fact sheets on heifers and grazing that may be of interest:
Source: Joe Horner, University of Missouri Extension and Attica Veterinary Associates