Improved calf rearing (Bollin Farmers December Report)

Monday 30 January 2012
Improved calf rearing (Bollin Farmers December Report)

A presentation was given to the Bollin Farmers Group by vice chairman Tim Hartley on how to improve the rearing of dairy heifers. 

Tim outlined that, in his opinion, the following targets should be obtained for good calf rearing:

- Birth weight = 45 kg

- Daily growth rates = 0.8kg per head

- Bulling age = 15 months

- Bulling weight (black & white) = 330 kg

- Bulling weight (Jersey x) = 300kg

- Calving age = 24/25 months

- Calving weight (black and white) = 550 kg

- Calving weight (Jersey x) = 500 kg

- Days on farm = 730

- Concentrate Intake

0-12 months = 500 kg

12-24 months = 500 kg

- Ad-lib forage (grazing as much as possible)

The objective of the discussion was to set on-farm parameters for successful calf rearing.  Tim was concerned members did not pay attention to the objectives outlined above and explained that if these results were obtained then all dairy heifers at calving would perform to the highest level of performance.

From these guidelines it is expected to achieve the following results:-

Black and white dairy heifers =

(As above) 8,000 litres per annum sold

(Average rearing) 6,500 litres per annum sold

Jersey dairy heifers =

(As above) 6,500 litres per annum sold

(Average rearing) 6,000 litres per annum sold

The benefit to the producer will be around 1,000 litres of milk sold per annum or £300 plus for forage-only system, as well as reducing the replacement rate from as high as 25% down to 15% and a further saving of around £30 per heifer per annum. 

Total saving is £450 per heifer

Improving your calf rearing will be of real benefit to your business.  Health will be excellent and require reduced input of vets and drugs.

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