Heifers Weaned Later Do Better23 April 2015
Replacement heifer calves weaned at heavier weights continue to outgrow the others, Irish research shows.
Ireland's Agriculture and Food Development Board (Teagasc) found calves could be fifteen kilos better off if weaned at 100 kilos.
Emer Kennedy at Moorepark, a Teagasc research farm carried out the trial with 48 mixed breed replacement heifer calves last year. Heifers were fed up to six litres of milk per day, ad lib meals, water and hay while indoors.
Heifers were turned out to grass at five weeks of age and were weaned gradually over a week.
According to Emer: “Heifers weaned at 100kg maintained at least a 15kg liveweight advantage throughout the first summer at grass. This weight gap was still there when they were bred the following spring”.
Previous research shows that heavier replacement heifers are more likely to become pregnant early in the breeding season and produce more milk over their first three lactations – this research shows one way to achieve such heavier weights for breeding.