Much focus since February has been centered on ensuring calves are healthy, achieving high levels of performance, and hitting target weights.
With replacement heifers, the main target is to reach 60% of mature weight at the time of breeding next spring. This typically equates to heifers achieving an average daily gain of 0.75 –0.85 kg/day from birth. Disruptions to performance during the lifetime of a heifer can offset target weights being achieved. As grass quality and availability will begin to decline in the autumn, it is therefore important to consider where your replacement heifers are in terms of hitting their weight targets.
Are you heifers on target for breeding next spring?
Prior to their first winter housing period, heifers should be weighed, ideally in August, to ensure that they are on target to achieve the desired bodyweight. By weighing now, compared to weighing at the point of housing, allows the opportunity to identify heifers that are not on target and make alternative plans where these targets are not being met.
Where heifers are not at their desired weight, concentrate supplementation should be provided. Generally, higher weight gains can be achieved from grass than winter/silage diets and a good response to autumn supplementation can be achieved. In cases where a cohort of heifers are below target, group according to weight and prioritise the lighter heifers over the next number of weeks before winter housing occurs.
For further information on supplementing heifers this autumn, contact your local Agritech Sales Advisor.