Inefficiencies in your heifer unit

We explore where inefficiencies may hide in your heifer unit from weaning to calving by reviewing data to set targets. Karen Halton of Chance Hall Farm in Cheshire was joined by Hefin Richards of Rumination Consultancy.

Event summary and key points

  • Heifer rearing is split into four areas to help us focus on performance; calf rearing, weaning through until service, the breeding period and pregnancy 
  • The target for Chance Hall Farm is to reduce their age at first calving to 24 months against an industry average of 28 months
  • Targets have also been set for weight, service and growth rates
  • Calf rearing performs very well at Chance Hall Farm but improvements can be made at around 5-8 months of age with amendments to rationing
  • Improving heifer performance starts with weighing at key stages; birth, weaning, a few weeks post weaning and throughout the growing phase
  • It's important to benchmark your results against industry key performance indicators targets 
  • When looking at stats we advise looking at the spread as well as the average to get a more complete picture
  • The outlying markers generally illustrate opportunities to improve something
  • Farmer feedback from the tour of the unit proved very useful with recommendations to install an additional fan, lighting and feeding troughs

Hefin Richards shares his top tips to improve heifer rearing

Karen Halton provides an update on heifer rearing at Chance Hall Farm

Calf and heifer management guidance

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