The value of better heifers

Analyses of the herd testing data over a wide range of farms is highlighting the shortfall in heifer productivity.

Using a program designed here in NZ, a predicted 305 day yield can be calculated to allow all the cows to be analysed against each other on a level playing field, irrespective of how many days in milk they have actually done.  These data show some highly productive cows, but also a number that are failing to produce enough income to cover the costs of their place in the herd. Herd longevity also requires improvement.

The chart below shows the data analysed, with the top and bottom quartiles shown as dashes.


The heifers are achieving just 78% of the yield of a 4th or 5th calver. A good target should be to achieve 90% of the yield of a mature cow.

Using these figures in the calculator, a 350 cow herd could reduce cow numbers by 11 average cows, or 15 of the lower yielders, if heifers milked to target in their first lactation. This is a huge cost saving.

Achieving our target total milk production with as few cows as is practicable will help reduce: time, expenditure on maintaining the cow, unwanted calves, environmental loading, feed demand during droughts etc.

If you would like assistance in running these figures for your own herd please contact us

Use the calculator below to check out your own figures


*This analysis was carried out on 13,261 animals across 35 herds and is indicative only. You are advised to undertake analysis on your own herds before making management descisions.