Title

Strategies to improve efficiency and profitability of heifer raising.

Document Type

Abstract

Publication Date

2019

Location

2019 American Dairy Science Association Annual Meeting: Cincinnati, Ohio

Publisher

American Dairy Science Association

Journal

Journal of Dairy Science

Volume

102

Issue

1

Pages

304

Language

en.

Keywords

dairy heifer, management, efficiency

Abstract

Raising replacement heifers represents a significant investment for producers in time and resources. It is not until the start of lactation that any return on investment is received. Thus, it is critical to the success of the dairy industry that advancements continued to be made to optimize heifer management. The objective of this presentation will be to discuss key research on different aspects of heifer raising strategies that have been conducted by members of the NC-2042 USDA Multistate Project: Management Systems to Improve the Economic and Environmental Sustainability of Dairy Enterprises. A few key areas that will be highlighted specifically in their relationship to improved heifer performance and profitability are: evaluations of different feeding strategies, utilization of alternative forages, and utilization of alternative protein and concentrate feedstuffs. Within our group a variety of feeding strategies such as limit-feeding or precision-feeding versus more moderate limitfed diets or traditional total mixed rations have been evaluated leading to increased understanding of advantages and disadvantages of each strategy. Research will be reviewed on evaluation of feeding high and low forage diets containing new and developing forage sources such a sorghum silage, sudan grass, and fibrous by-products. Additionally, research has been conducted on effects of feeding co-products such as distillers grains, brewer’s grains, oilseed meals, and soy products to heifers in comparison to more traditional concentrate ingredients. In conducting research related to these different feeding strategies and feedstuffs we have gained increased understanding of the relationships of nutrient and energy source utilization and metabolic profile to the development and growth of heifers which can have widespread impacts. In recent years, it has also become apparent the genotype and genetic management will have many implications on heifer performance and influence on nutritional management.

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