Replacement heifers generally need to gain 150 to 250 pounds from weaning until the start of breeding to assure adequate condition and normal estrous cycles. Kansas State University researchers conducted a two-year trial to determine how the timing of gain affected reproductive performance.

Half the heifers were fed to gain 1.0 pound daily from weaning through breeding. The other half were fed to gain 0.24 pound per day for 112 days and 2.0 pounds for the rest of the prebreeding period

The two treatments brought similar results in terms of weights at breeding, age at puberty, body condition, frame scores, pelvic area, pregnancy rates, age at conception and first-service conception rates. The researchers note that these results indicate that producers can develop heifers successfully on an even rate of development or with extra dietary supplementation later if conditions restrict normal development following weaning.