Principles regarding replacement heifers

Replacement heifers

Dairy farmers always aim to reduce the production cost of milk to increase profit margins. Heifer rearing is a direct cost and produces no immediate income; therefore, efforts are made to reduce this cost. However, heifer rearing is an integral part of a dairy herd and cost saving efforts should not reduce their future production potential. In times of economic pressure, often managers want to sell heifers to generate an income. This can only be done when there are a surplus number of heifers in the herd. Heifers are reared to replace cows leaving the herd. Selling heifers today may mean buying heifers later to maintain the herd size. This is a very unwise action as bought-in heifers often are not readily available, often more expensive than rearing own heifers or of unknown genetic merit. The following principles should be considered for rearing dairy heifers.The full article is for subscribed members only. To view the full article please subscribe. It’s FREE!Log In Register


  • Research Associate, Faculty of Animal Sciences, University of Stellenbosch

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