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Heifers are the reproduction opportunity

After the U.S. dairy industry experienced years of declining fertility in our cows, the trend finally turned around by the early 2000s. Synchronization, genetic selection, and genomic information have made getting cows pregnant in a timely fashion easier; pregnancy rates over 30% are no longer aspirational but regularly achieved.

The main reproduction challenge on our farms now, believes the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Paul Fricke, lies in the heifer herd.

During a Reproduction Roadshow presentation, Fricke described that a UW-Madison survey indicated it costs a farm roughly $2,355 to raise a heifer calf up to calving. Reducing that number largely depends on attention to reproduction. Heifers cannot be managed with an “out of sight, out of mind” mindset, said the professor and extension specialist.

Katlyn Allen

April 4, 2024



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