Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Ration Guidelines for 2-4 Month-Old Heifers

In a presentation to a dairy audience in Minnesota Dr. Trevor DeVries (as reported in Progressive Dairy November 7, 2019, p 49) suggested these guidelines for 2-4 month-old heifers when we have a growth goal of about 2.5 pounds a day gain:
  • 85 percent of dry matter intake (DMI) should come from concentrated feed.
  • Do not use fermented feeds in the ration for this age heifers because "they are too high in moisture and calves are not able to eat enough to achieve an appropriate level of dry matter."
  • Use a "dry" TMR that contains concentrate and chopped dry forage such as straw or hay. Dry TMR can be made in large batches, stored and fed out daily without concerns of "heating" common for high moisture TMR's.  
  • Forage particle size in dry TMR should be limited to 1" in length to discourage sorting and should be well mixed in the TMR.
  • Remember to keep TMR in front of the calves (do not feed to a clean bunk) in order to discourage calves from developing the bad habit of "slug feeding."

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