Weight watching benefits for the herd
Data collection is essential in order to monitor performance and make decisions regarding heifer rearing effectively.
Daily liveweight gain is one of the most important indicators of efficiency and can have a huge impact on the future productivity and longevity of heifers joining the herd, and therefore the future profitability of the farm business.
Regularly monitoring body weights using scales or weigh tapes, alongside recording disease incidences, can indicate potential issues in the system that need addressing before they become very detrimental to the future productivity of the business.
Rules of thumb: Ensure that calves receive sufficient amounts of good quality colostrum, follow the five Cs and the four Qs of colostrum management (Quality, Quantity, Quickly and Quietly).
Calves should have access to fresh water, forage and starter feed at all times.
Daily liveweight gain should be a minimum of 0.85kg.
Calves should be a minimum of double birthweight at weaning and triple their birthweight at three months.
Hygiene and cleanliness are crucial for the health and performance of the calf and business.
Calf mortality target should be under five per cent.
Incidences of pneumonia should be less than 15 per cent.
Incidences of scours should be less than 10 per cent.
Abbigail England is NWF Technical Manager
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