The profit-making potential of the modern cow depends on her ability to combine production and type. Functional type enables a cow to produce over a long lifetime. (Holstein Canada)
Relative Emphasis for Cows
Body weight alone should not be a measure for developmental traits of heifers. Wither height is also any important measurement of skeletal development (frame and capacity). If heifers are not grown properly and do not achieve sufficient size at calving, they will not be able to take in the ‘fuel’ to power their genetic ability. Body condition is also another important management tool. Inadequate size at first calving will reduce the potential milk production during first and second lactations due to reduced intakes, competition of nutrients for continued growth and inadequate energy reserves. This may also delay conception during the first lactation. TYPICAL TARGETS 700kg mature weight:
Hoffman, Frank, Syverud, 1991. To maximize milk production and profits, a nutrition and management program should be designed to provide adequate growth and properly conditioned heifers. The key to successful growth rates is to plan a feeding strategy form birth for every stage of rearing to match a heifer’s genetic potential. Growth rates are also affected by the environment and health status.