Your youngstock are the future of your dairy enterprise. The current average cost of rearing a heifer through to calving in the UK is £735, and presently 33% of heifers do not survive into a 2nd lactation.
Our aim is to work with you to improve these figures. We need to work together to rear healthy heifers which:
- Calve at the optimal age and weight
- Yield well in their first lactation
- Conceive within the target number of days
- Persist in your herd, producing good yields with minimal health problems, for longer than the current UK average of 3.5 lactations
Careful consideration is required at all stages of heifer rearing. We are experienced in advising you on general husbandry and preventative medicine procedures such as:
- Stocking rates
- Worming protocols
- Husk prevention
- Cost effective vaccination programmes
- Life stage nutrition
- Growth rates
- Training of farm personnel in Condition Scoring
The Parklands 4x4 club started in October 2013 with the aim to reduce the age of heifers at first caving by providing a structured approach to holistically looking at a farms heifer rearing progammes and assessing areas of weakness and provide guidance on how heifer growth rates could be improved. The 4x4 title comes from the target “400kgs by 400days” an excellent target that will ensure heifers are growing efficiently.
The 4x4 club is group of farmers who realise the importance of efficient heifer rearing and meet quarterly for educational meetings on issues surrounding heifer rearing and receive guidance on how best to monitor and improve growth rates in calves. Some of the topics covered are:
· Colostrum management
· Growth rate monitoring
· Nutrition of the calf at different stages of growth
· Infectious disease concerns
· Optimising genetics when serving heifers
· Effective integration of the heifer into the herd
The programme also includes a 2 hour on farm visit to measure calf growth, assess colostrum management, assess housing and feeding regimes and provide specific feedback and set targets related to each individual farm.
Collecting data from a number of farms also allows us to benchmark individual farm performance in relation to other farms.
If you are interested in knowing more about heifer rearing or would like to be involved inthe 4x4 club please speak to any of the vets.