Pictured: Charles Clarke, Baileborough, Co. Cavan
In dairy production systems, optimum lifetime performance and longevity is achieved when replacement heifers are mated at 60% of their mature body weight and calve down at 24 months at 90% of their mature body weight. Poor fertility is a significant challenge facing replacement heifers, and is often a result of failing to meet target weights at the various milestones.
Heifers that hit the target weight for age at breeding not only produce more milk, but they also mature into bigger cows with shorter calving intervals in subsequent lactations. In order to hit the target weights at the various milestones, an average daily live-weight gain (DLW) of 0.7-0.8 kg/day must be achieved from birth through to calving.
In response to this, Lakeland Agri’s Heifer Grower Nut is specifically designed to ensure growing heifers meet target live-weight gains at critical points of development.
Lakeland Agri Heifer Grower Nut Trial
Lakeland Agri undertook a Heifer Grower Nut trial with two farmers from January 2019 to April 2019. Between the two farms, a total of 70 heifers were on trial and were fed 2kg/hd/day of the Lakeland Agri Heifer Grower Nut, along with good quality, 71 DMD grass silage.
The results from the trial are as follows:
Farmer 1: Charles Clarke
Charles Clarke is a grass-based farmer from Baileborough, Co. Cavan. Over the past number of years, he has increased his herd size to approximately 130 crossbred cows, and plans to continue to expand this in the future.
In order to give his calves the best start in life, Charles uses the SkimSmart Calf Milk Replacer which was launched to the market by Lakeland Agri last year. Calves are also fed the Lakeland Agri Munchy Calf Muesli, and from 8 weeks onwards, they are moved onto the Lakeland Agri Calf Grower.
As part of the trial, Charles achieved fantastic growth rates of 0.87kg DLW, while feeding the Lakeland Agri Heifer Grower Nut. Following a meeting with Charles after the breeding season of 2019, it was found that he had an in-calf rate of 96% at the end of the breeding season.
"The heifers looked really, really well. There was a great shine off their coats and they looked very healthy. Their growth rates were excellent over the winter and I was extremely happy with their fertility performance, with 96% of them in-calf at the end of the breeding season. I would have no hesitation with recommending the Lakeland Agri Heifer Grower Nut to other farmers going forward.”
Pictured: Emmet Burke, Kells, Co. Meath
Farmer 2: Emmet Burke
Emmet Burke farms just outside Kells, Co. Meath. Having exited milk production a number of years ago, Emmet restored the dairy enterprise in 2015, and has expanded his herd to milk 50 cows in 2019. Cow size is approximately 600kg+ mature weight and they supplied 6800 litres of milk last year.
Similar to Charles, Emmet feeds the Lakeland Agri Munchy Calf Muesli, and from 8 weeks onwards, he then moves the calves onto the Lakeland Agri Calf Grower.
As part of the trial, Emmet also achieved excellent growth rates of 1.05kg DLW, while feeding the Lakeland Agri Heifer Grower Nut. It was also found that 81% of the heifers had been in-calf to first service and had a 95% in-calf rate by the end of the breeding season.
Commenting on the Lakeland Agri Heifer Grower Nut trial, Emmet stated,
“The heifer’s daily live-weight gains and fertility performance was much better than expected. We only had one heifer not in calf. 18 of them held to the first service and the remaining 3 held to the second service.
“We would highly recommend the Lakeland Agri Heifer Grower Nut to other farmers looking to drive the performance of their heifers. We already know what product and level of feed will be fed to our heifers again this winter to achieve the weights we need for breeding our heifers in 2020.”
For guidance on a suitable feeding strategy for your replacement heifers this winter, please contact your Lakeland Agri Feed Representative or our Customer Services Centre on:
ROI: 1890 47 47 20
NI: 028 3026 2311