ICBF HerdPlus has added a new profile screen to view recorded liveweights on dairy heifers quickly and easily.
The profile allows dairy farmers to benchmark heifer liveweights against industry target weights for replacement dairy heifers based on age. This will help to identify any underweight heifers and ensure they are the correct weight by mating start date. This will ultimately lead to heifers calving down at the optimal age of (22-24) months and maximise farm profitability.
Weighing your dairy heifers is a key component of successful heifer rearing and plays an important role for a successful breeding season. Poor fertility in replacement heifers is often due to heifers being underweight at mating start date (MSD). This can be avoided if weight and weight gain of the heifers is regularly monitored. Research has shown lower survival rates to third lactation and reduced milk yields are the consequences of failing to achieve the target weight for age when rearing replacement heifers.
How are Target Weights Calculated?
The maintenance sub-index within the EBI is calculated using Cow liveweights and is used as a prediction of maintenance feed intake costs for dairy cows. The maintenance sub-index of the animal can be used to determine the projected mature body weight. A higher maintenance sub-Index is associated with a lighter cow liveweight.
Once the mature body weight of the heifer has been projected using the maintenance sub-index, target weights are calculated as a proportion of the mature bodyweight, based on the age of the animal. The Target bodyweight Guidelines for dairy heifer are as follows:
|Target Body Weights Guidelines for Dairy Heifers|
|6 months||30% mature BW|
|15 months||60% mature BW|
|24 months||90% mature BW|
The profile highlights any dairy heifers that are not achieving their target pre-breeding weights for their age. The Difference from the Target weight calculates the difference from the last weight to the target weight of the animal at time of weighing. The profile also includes a summary table for the groups of heifers weighed based on age.
Any heifer liveweights that are recorded through the record events screen, ICBF weight recording apps or handhelds would be displayed on this screen.
Some useful benefits to the farmer when using this profile screen include:
- Access a specific animal weight quickly and easily.
- Heifers that are not meeting target weights are highlighted in red.
- Animals can be sorted and filtered in this profile.
- Profile can be downloaded to Excel and PDF formats.
- Click on the blue figures to view even more information on the animal. E.g., Lactation Summary, Fertility, Ancestry data etc.
- Click on the Jumbo/Freezebrand to view previously recorded liveweights on the animals.
- This profile is also available on the HerdPlus app.
Below is a step-by-step guide on how to access this profile.
- Go to icbf.com and login to your HerdPlus account using your username and password.
- Under the ‘View Profiles’ drop down, select ‘Heifer Weight” under the dairy profiles”.
The screenshot above illustrates the screen, and the user will see. Click on the animal number to view more details. Note: All the columns can be filtered to analyse liveweights more closely. The data in the columns can also be sorted into ascending or descending order by clicking on the column heading. The profile can be downloaded to excel and PDF format.
We hope you find this new profile a useful improvement to view liveweights on your dairy heifers. Achieving the correct heifer liveweight is an important component of farm management strategy.
If you have any questions, or if you have any comments or feedback, please contact HerdPlus on 023-8820452 or email [email protected].