Raising the Bar on Calf & Heifer Feeding & Management. Jim Barmore, M.Sc., PAS Nutrition & Management Consulting Verona, WI

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1 Raising the Bar on Calf & Heifer Feeding & Management Jim Barmore, M.Sc., PAS Nutrition & Management Consulting Verona, WI

2 Why the Focus on Calves & Heifers Early calf development impacts lifetime production and the quality/ cost of heifers raised to calving Replacements are a large cost center of the dairy Improvements in preg rates, calves born alive, calf rearing, heifer breeding, and housing, along with sexed semen has created extra heifers or more investment. Days-on-feed and calving age significantly impact the P/L Heifer facilities are aging & over-stocked in many cases Focusing on herd goals rather than breed standards is better because your benchmarking within your own herd

3 Calf & Heifer Management A Paradigm Shift 8-10 % DOA s <4-5% DOA s 2 quarts colostrum 3-4 quarts colostrum Check colostrum quality check blood proteins 1 lb milk replacer 2% of body weight in milk solids Wean when eating 1.5 lbs starter Weaning weight is double 8 wks Calf loss <5% of wet calves Calf loss <2-3% of wet calves Accelerated milk replacer Pasteurized milk Avoid higher ADG on yg calves Preweaned calves growing in excess of 2 lbs/day Avoid ADG > lbs lbs/day gain readily achieved Survival to 6 Mo often <85% Survival to 6 Mo often >90% Mo Breed based on size & stature Bull bred common AI breeding common Pregnancy Rate <30% Pregnancy Rate>37% Raise all heifers born alive Chosen genetics after birth

4 Questions on Calf & Heifer Management 1. Does it make economic sense to raise all heifers considering time-value of the investment? 2. Which heifers should make your dairy team? 3. Can heifers be too young at calving? 4. Can overall rearing costs be reduced by actually spending more on raising wet calves? 5. What are the best performance metrics for calves & heifers?

5 Lifetime Importance of Colostrum Colostrum naturally contains a multitude of proteins and natural hormones that positively affect calf gut development and thus improves nutrient absorption for her lifetime

6 Milk Yield Response to Increased Pre-weaning Milk or Milk Replacer Nutrient Supply Study Milk yield, lb Foldager and Krohn, ,092 Bar-Peled et al., Foldager et al., ,143 Ballard et al., DIM) 1,543 Shamay et al., 2005 (post-weaning protein) 2,162 Rincker et al., 2006 ( proj. 150 DIM) 1,100 Drackley et al., ,841 Chester-Jones et al., ,800 Morrison et al., 2009 (no diff. calf growth) 0 Moallem et al., 2010 (post-weaning protein) 1,613

7 Cornell Herd - Effect of Pre-Weaning Daily Gain on Milk Yield In this evaluation, 22% of the variation in first lactation milk yield was explained by preweaning growth rate up to days of age Dr Mike Van Amburgh

8 Size & Stature > Age Goal is 82 85% of mature body weight at 1 st calving and 96% of mature height at calving Height Growth 12 6 Age 0 6 Mo Age 6 12 Mo GOAL 1 st 6 months = ½ Growth Height Ex. birth calving Growth = 24 6 Age Mo Calving 2 1 st Lactation

9 Heifer Nutritional Strategies Year #1 is focused on protein and energy nutrition, with second year focus being more on energy, forage, feed efficiency, and costs. Environment can quickly trump a good ration Grouping is key to optimize growth, while minimizing feed costs lbs group range ideal

10 Typical Feed Efficiency Values [feed lbs dm to gain lb] Calves on milk 2:1 to 2.5:1 Weaned calves (25% forage) 3:1 to 4:1 Young heifers (50% high quality forage) 4:1 Heifers on TMR 6:1 to 7:1 Older heifers (poor forage) 8:1 or more (has been shown to be 15:1 in some cases) Heinrichs,, Penn State

11 Feed Efficiency Factors Genetics Nutrition & Rations Environment - can quickly trump nutrition!

12 Herd & Calf Tracer Co.onwood Dairy 100.0% 95.0% 90.0% 85.0% 80.0% 75.0% 70.0% Sep- 12 Oct- 12 Nov- 12 Dec- 12 Jan- 13 Feb- 13 Mar- 13 Apr- 13 May- 13 Jun- 13 Jul- 13 Aug- 13 Sep- 13 Sep- 12 Oct- 12 Nov- 12 Dec- 12 Jan- 13 Feb- 13 Mar- 13 Apr- 13 May- 13 Jun- 13 Jul- 13 Aug- 13 Sep- 13 % Survive 6 mo¹ 92.1% 85.3% 88.7% 96.1% 83.6% 89.8% 94.8% 96.9% 89.1% 90.2% 96.3% 90.5% 90.9% % Survive 6 mo¹ % Survive 6 mo¹

13 Suggested Calf & Heifer Metrics Weight gain and growth birth to weaning Weight gain and growth postweaning 5 months % Survival to 6 months Age at breeding (size) Age at pregnancy % bred by 30 days post VWP Preg Rate & Service Rate last 3 cycles Projected Age First Calving Size and body condition at calving

14 Be Careful Using Averages for Metrics

15 Enter the average body weight and height of third lactation cows in your herd, average birth weight of calves, average services per conception for heifers, and the goal for age at first calving. From this information a customized growth chart is generated, allowing you to track heifer performance against the growth required to meet your goals. Height, inches Customized Heifer Growth Chart Based on Mature Height and Goal for Age at Calving Age, months

16 What is a reasonable & obtainable Heifer Replacement Preg Rate Goal 1. >25% 2. >30% 3. >34% 4. >38%

17 Getting Heifers Pregnant Goal for heifer replacement pregnancy rate >38-40%

18 Success!

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