Step up nutrition to meet genetic potential

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The practice of genetic selection for higher milk production is another reason to reassess your nutrition program for heifers, says Bennet Cassell, Virginia Tech dairy scientist. For example, he cites a long-term Scottish study published last year in the Journal of Dairy Science. That study showed Holstein heifers selected for maximum production of fat and protein grew faster and were heavier than those selected for average production traits. “These changes call attention to the need for better heifer nutritional programs to meet growth requirements than were necessary a few generations ago,” Cassell says.

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