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Nutrition

The importance of good nutrition is high. Research shows that an increase in dry-matter uptake by 1 kg at weaning, results in 286.7 kilograms higher milk production in the first lactation. And the age at which the calves ingest more than 900 grams of nutrition is also associated with total lifetime production in litres and concentrations (Boulton et al. 2015). To check whether the calves and heifers are growing well, we recommend regularly weighing the animals, or measuring their chest size and crotch height if necessary. By comparing this with growth and height curves, you can assess to what degree rearing is going according to plan, and whether or not any changes need to be made to the nutrition. Figure 1 below shows a growth and height curve (deboerenveearts.nl).

Figure 1. Growth and height curve young stock

 

The overview below gives a number of key target figures that should be aimed for during rearing (deboerenveearts.nl).

  • Weight at insemination 380 kg
  • Age of insemination 13 months
  • Weight at calving 600 kg
  • Weight around weaning 80–90 kg