The period from birth to first calving for a dairy heifer has not always received much attention on dairy farms, but success in this non-productive period is key to ensuring a profitable system of replacements. For calving at the optimum time of 24 months, growth must be on target and disease incidence must be minimised. This article covers aspects of management that influence growth and disease in this period; starting with colostrum management and success of passive transfer, then feeding of milk and other requirements pre-weaning, optimum housing for disease prevention, through to timing of first service. It is also crucial to record, monitor and assess the success of this period, and practical and applicable methods to do this on farm are discussed.
|Publication status||Published - 18 Mar 2014|