Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 38

38 ❙ FeedStrategy
HEIFER-WEANING INDEX

Target numbers
At eight weeks of age, a Jersey heifer
double her birth weight should weigh
at least 110 pounds (with the norm
being at least 20 pounds heavier).
Even then, at 130 pounds, she would
consume at best 130 x .03 = 3.9
pounds of dry matter. In this case, it
would be unrealistic to expect such
an animal to consume more than 3
pounds of just starter feed before
weaning. Such a goal would require
this animal to consume virtually no
milk replacer and/or roughage, which
would be contrary to her physiology. Instead, a more acceptable
figure of 1.5 pounds (half of that for
Holstein heifers) is considered more

the starter feed should be between
1.5 and 3.5 pounds. More is even
better, but if this is achieved for the
majority of the calves, then either
weaning age should be adjusted,
or calves should be encouraged to
consume more roughage.

Evaluate a dairy calf
milk replacer program in
3 easy steps:
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articles/36378

acceptable, especially because Jersey
calves will require a bit more milk to
grow as rapidly as Holstein heifers.
The same figures can be calculated for any other breed, once
we know its average (or herd, or
genetics) specific birth weight (and
its variation). The ideal target at the
industry weaning age average should
be double the birth weight. With that
target in mind, then we can back
calculate the amount of dry matter
intake possible at weaning, the
allowance for milk replacer powder
and roughage intake (or allowance).
The rest should be covered by a
high-quality starter feed. And, as it
has been shown by using one of the
heaviest and the lightest commercial dairy breeds, the target for

MOST FEEDING GUIDES FOR dairy
heifers assume all female dairy calves
are of Holstein origin.

Eric Gevaert | Shutterstock.com

Assuming this heifer consumes 14
pounds of liquid milk replacer a
day (an average program), plus a
starter feed, plus some high-quality
roughage source, we expect her to
consume 14 x .125 = 1.75 pounds
of milk replacer powder dry matter
daily and, at best, 0.5 pounds of
roughage dry matter, giving a rest
figure of 3.15 pounds of starter
feed intake, which can translate to
about 3.5 pounds of starter feed as
is (with 90% moisture). This is how
the 3-pounds-per-day guideline has
been derived.

The starter feed
Producers of heifers consider milk
replacers a necessary expense. They
usually invest good money in highquality milk replacer formulas, but
they often tend to underfeed, especially during crucial times (winter,
stress, etc.). Roughage is considered an
unnecessary luxury that complicates
operations in large-scale facilities
(and calves end up consuming dirty
bedding material, which is normally
straw). A bit of high-quality roughage
is always recommended and is a good
investment if done properly.
Where most producers object
is on the expense of the starter
feed. Most will buy the least-cost
formulation expecting hunger (due
to underfeeding of milk replacer) to
play its part. After all, heifers are
expected to grow in even less dense
diets than those offered as a starter
feed before weaning. Such feeds are
usually home-mixed formulas based
on corn and soybean meal, with the
addition of the necessary microand macro-nutrients. Some will
buy or pellet themselves this feed,
as this has been shown to somewhat encourage feed intake. But
the rewards are rather slim, unless
the pelleted form contains other
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Feed Strategy - May 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Feed Strategy - May 2019

Feed Strategy - May 2019
Contents
In the Mix
Industry Happenings
African swine fever: What feed manufacturers need to know
Year of the Pig: A look at China’s declining pork consumption
Asia’s poultry producers expect strong results in 2019
Add value to piglet diets with molasses
Marketing nutrition by blaming other products
How feed additives can reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Americans seek more protein, but not all animal based
What is the best heifer-weaning index?
VICTAM International a one-stop show for animal feed processors
Products
Advertisers’ Index
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - CT1
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - CT2
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - Feed Strategy - May 2019
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - Cover2
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - Contents
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - In the Mix
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - Industry Happenings
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - African swine fever: What feed manufacturers need to know
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 5
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 6
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 7
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 8
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 9
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 10
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 11
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 12
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 13
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - Year of the Pig: A look at China’s declining pork consumption
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 15
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 16
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 17
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 18
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 19
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - Asia’s poultry producers expect strong results in 2019
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 21
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 22
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 23
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - Add value to piglet diets with molasses
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 25
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 26
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 27
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - Marketing nutrition by blaming other products
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 29
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - How feed additives can reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 31
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - Americans seek more protein, but not all animal based
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 33
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 34
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 35
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - What is the best heifer-weaning index?
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 37
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 38
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 39
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - VICTAM International a one-stop show for animal feed processors
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 41
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - 42
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - Products
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - Advertisers’ Index
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - Cover3
Feed Strategy - May 2019 - Cover4
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