Heifer reproduction
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Get heifers ready for breeding

August 05, 2014
POSTED BY: Ken Learmont | DVM | Dairy Technical Services | Zoetis

The expense of growing heifers from birth to freshening can be one of the largest on a dairy.1 Reproduction is the last major investment of a calf wellness program. Take these steps to manage your heifer repro program for a more promising return on your investment.

  • Minimize raising costs and maximize profitability: Breed heifers to calve at 22 months of age. Every month first calving is delayed beyond 22 months can cost producers more than $100 per heifer in lost milk production opportunity and additional raising costs.2
  • Set goals for growth and monitor progress: The work to prepare heifers for successful calving at 22 months of age needs to begin before they are ready for breeding. Track growth progress to make sure replacement heifers will reach breeding size targets by 12 months of age.
  • Prep heifers for breeding: When heifers meet height and weight targets, move heifers to the breeding pen. Use LUTALYSE® (dinoprost tromethamine injection) Sterile Solution to help synchronize estrus and decrease the number of days to first breeding.
  • Continue to evaluate success: Pay special attention to age at first breeding. Monitor and track if all heifers are meeting your goal for age at first insemination. Be sure to measure and evaluate progress after each pregnancy check.

In heifer breeding, key decisions and simple steps can help accelerate performance. Work with your veterinarian to evaluate your breeding program  and ensure proper timing.

 

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: Women of childbearing age and persons with respiratory problems should exercise extreme caution when handling LUTALYSE. LUTALYSE is readily absorbed through the skin and may cause abortion and/or bronchiospasms, therefore spillage on the skin should be washed off immediately with soap and water. Aseptic technique should be used to reduce the possibility of post-injection clostridial infections. Do not administer LUTALYSE in pregnant cattle unless cessation of pregnancy is desired. See full Prescribing Information.

1 Stuttgen S, Kohlman T, Hoffman P, Zwald A. There’s nothing equal when raising heifers. Hoard’s Dairyman. Available at: http://www.hoards.com/E_calf_heifer/HR03. Accessed July 23, 2014.

2 Lormore MJ. The case for a quality dairy replacement program. Proceedings. NRAES Dairy Calves and Heifers: Integrating Biology and Management Conference, 2005.

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