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Winter Management of In-Calf Dairy Heifers

Mairead Kirk, Dairy Advisor in Teagasc Louth explains the key steps in the winter management of in-calf dairy heifers. As they are the future of your herd, in-calf heifers should be a top priority for you this winter. In this video Mairead talks about heifers calving at the correct weight and more

In spring 2022 you want your heifers to calve down at the correct weight and in the correct body condition.  Take them out and weigh them now, particularly heifers that have returned from contract rearers. You want your Friesian in-calf heifers to be hitting 550kgs at calving with jersey crosses around 500kgs. 

On target heifers should be fed ad-lib good quality silage over the winter. For those heifers that you consider behind target you can feed meal up to six weeks prior to calving and pen them off separately so there is no bullying at the feed face. 

In order to reduce stress after calving try to introduce your in-calf dairy heifers to the milking parlour over the winter period. 

In conclusion, correct management of your in-calf heifers this winter will reflect in the future profitability of your dairy business. House them on cubicles, feed them correctly and pay special attention to in-calf heifers that are behind target.  Bringing heifers through to milk is a costly business so you need to ensure that you heifers that calve down in spring 2022 last in your herd.

Watch below as Mairead Kirk, Dairy Advisor explains 

For further details please contact your local Teagasc dairy advisor here. Find further information on Teagasc Dairy here