For producers who raise their own replacement females, cost-effective development and long-term productivity are critical to the economics of the enterprise. Glenn Rogers, a technical services veterinarian with Pfizer Animal Health, recommends focusing on two key areas: setting cost-effective goals and developing the immune system.
In setting goals to achieve growth, reproductive and economic objectives,
Begin with 10 to 25 percent more heifers than needed in the initial pool to allow for heifers that fail to meet reproductive and growth targets.
Estrous synchronization and artificial insemination can lead to improved genetics and a tighter calving period, and can offer economic advantages in some operations.
The traditional target weight for heifers at breeding is 65 percent of projected mature weight. That target might, however, not be economically sound in many production systems. Recent information shows satisfactory reproductive performance from developing heifers to a slightly lower percent of projected mature weight. In light of drastically increased input costs, producers might want to re-evaluate traditional target weights.
A heifer immunization program,