Assessing weight gains in dairy heifers

SOUTH DAKOTA - Producers can use indirect methods to assess weight gains in dairy heifers, a South Dakota State University specialist said.
calendar icon 29 September 2006
clock icon 1 minute read

SDSU Extension Dairy Specialist Alvaro Garcia said monitoring growth is one of the critical aspects of raising replacement heifers. Growth has to be assessed not only by weight but also by height at the withers and/or the hip.

Gains of 1.9 pounds per day can be adequate, depending on height attained by the animal. However, if the height is not adequate, 1.9 pounds of gain per day may result in over-conditioned heifers.

“Height can be measured with relative ease and with little expense, but not everyone has access to a calibrated electronic scale in their farm,” Garcia said. “Recent research published in the Journal of Dairy Science has evaluated the use of indirect methods to estimate body weight.”


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