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Heifers Outside Could Save Rearing Costs

21 November 2013

UK – Outwintering heifers could be a way of reducing rearing costs, say Harper Adams University researchers ahead of a day of outwintering assessment.

The day will take place on Tuesday 26 November at the Harper Adams Dairy Unit, co-hosted by research and development board DairyCo.

Last year, as part of the DairyCo funded research programme, Prof Liam Sinclair and Mr Norton Atkins visited nine commercial farms throughout the outwintering period to assess the performance of animals on three different forage types: kale, fodder beet and deferred grazing.

They measured live weight gain, herbage utilisation and animal performance in the first 100 days of lactation. Mineral supplementation was also investigated with half the animals on each farm receiving a mineral bolus. At the farm walk, Prof Sinclair and Mr Atkins discus some of these results as well as:

• How to provide a balanced diet to optimise daily live weight gain
• Optimising mineral nutrition during outwintering
• Calculating crop production and allocating strip grazing
• Managing potential health risks
• Minimising environmental risks and soil damage.

The farm walk will also be an opportunity to visit high genetic merit (HGM) heifers being outwintered on fodder beet.

This year Prof Sinclair and Mr Atkins are investigating the suitability of outwintering systems for heifers reared for a high output system.

The study will compare the growth and performance of outwintered vs. housed animals and will also consider the economics of both systems.

The event is free and lunch will be provided.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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