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Neonatal care and environment of dairy heifers

Studies show a clear link between heifer growth in early-life and future production performance. It all starts with a good quantity of quality colostrum, as soon as possible after birth. Our advisors can guide you on the best practices for colostrum management and assessment.

The environment plays an important role in ensuring the health of the newborns and it is therefore essential to offer them clean housing, with fresh litter, in a well-ventilated area away from drafts and with a small source of heat for a few hours after birth. We can evaluate different environmental parameters for your heifers such as space, air speed and ammonia levels, and explore suitable solutions with you.

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Heifer growth monitoring and best time for first service

Growth monitoring allows you to reach your age and weight goals at first calving, to maximize the production of your future dairy cows. We can help you to collect measurement data from your heifers and provide you with growth monitoring reports. If you prefer, you can also enter your measurements yourself, directly in our online  Growth monitoring application. Thanks to the growth model that is integrated into this tool, and to the software used by our field staff, it is possible to predict the best time to service your heifers from a single measurement.

Based on the analysis of growth data in your herd, your Valacta advisor will evaluate heifer feed rations and review your rearing practices to recommend a course of action, if changes are necessary.

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Assessing dairy heifer feed rations

Well fed, heifers reach the right weight at the right age and their lifetime production improves. Providing your heifers with the right ration, no more, no less, means that you provide them with the optimal feed at an optimal cost. A quick validation with an advisor will help you make sure you are on the right track.

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Calculating rearing costs and needs

Raising a heifer is expensive, especially if you raise more than you actually need. On the other hand, not being able to produce your quota because replacement cows are not available represents a significant shortfall. Each producer must establish his own rearing strategy according to his objectives, the market and the replacement needs of his herd.

A Valacta advisor can work with you to develop a customized replacement strategy based on your herd's culling profile and age at first calving. He can also evaluate your rearing costs and help you determine the best course of action to help you achieve your goals.

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