B+LNZ’s General Manager North Island Matt Ward, says B+LNZ features DairyNZ-developed resources on its website to give farmers grazing dairy heifers the information they need to ensure the heifers in their care have the opportunity to realise their genetic potential over their lifetime.
He says dairy farmers are trusting graziers with the future performance of their dairy herd while for graziers, dairy heifers generate valuable cashflow and are a valuable stock type to accommodate within a dry stock system.
Dairy heifers are not simply small beef cows however, they are a finishing animal and should gain weight almost every day they are on a grazier’s property. Their feed requirements, both in terms of quantity and quality, take careful planning to meet.
To help graziers understand the nutritional requirements of dairy heifers, a Heifer Feeding and Nutrition resource details the energy and protein requirements of heifers at different ages and stage as well as the quantity of drymatter required to drive growth rates. It also provides weight-for-age liveweight targets.
Nutrition pre-puberty influences the skeletal size of the heifer and well-grown heifers will ultimately produce more milk, compete better with mature cows and have greater longevity within the herd.
The resource also covers the use of crops and supplements and water and mineral requirements.
A Weights and Weighing resource provides practical advice around weighing, including targets, timing, weighing systems, how to take into account gut fill and identifying the reasons behind poor animal performance.
Both the Heifer Feeding and Nutrition and Weights and Weighing resources have links to more detailed information about related topics which allows graziers to drill down into detail about specific management practices.
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