Type of Document Master's Thesis Author Winston, David R. Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-52398-112651 Title A Five State Survey of Heifer Management Practices on Dairy Farms and Virginia Custom Dairy Heifer Growing Operations Degree Master of Science Department Dairy Science Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title James, Robert E. Committee Chair Kohl, David M. Committee Member McGilliard, Michael L. Committee Member Stallings, Charles C. Committee Member Keywords
- heifer management
- custom heifer growers
Date of Defense 1998-05-29 Availability restricted AbstractTwo surveys evaluated heifer management practices in dairy
herds and custom grower operations. The NC-119 Heifer
Management Survey conducted through the North Central
Regional Research Project 119 included 226 Holstein and
67 Jersey herds from MN, MO, PA, VA, and WA. Mean rolling
herd average for milk was 8,838 and 6,251 kg for Holstein
and Jersey herds, respectively. Calf mortality rates from
birth to first calving were 15.3 % for Holsteins and 15.8%
for Jerseys. High producing herds had more aggressive,
preventive health programs, hand-fed colostrum to newborn
calves, and used prepartum groups and separate postpartum
groups for first calf heifers. Practices associated with
low calf mortality included using maternity pens in barns
separate from the dairy herd as a calving facility and
vaccination for brucellosis, an indicator of the level of
overall management. Larger herds weaned calves earlier,
placed more importance on heifer size as a criterion for
first breeding, and used prepartum groups and separate
postpartum groups for first calf heifers States differed
in calving facility and calf housing choices. Calf
mortality rates were similar among states. The Virginia
Custom Dairy Heifer Rearing Survey included 24 growers.
Average herd size was 194 head. Seven growers contracted
with dairy producers, nine purchased, raised, and resold
heifers, and eight did both. Survey results indicated a
need for increased emphasis in several management areas.
Only two contract growers had written contracts.
Fifty-eight percent never monitored growth and 42% did
not have forages tested or rations balanced. Fifty-seven
percent used AI.
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