Farming news: Make sure heifers are fit for mating

THE poor weather last summer, along with poor quality silage has restricted growth rates of young cattle in the past year.

Farmers calving heifers at two years of age, will have to carefully assess the weight of heifers born last year to ensure they will be fit for bulling this summer.

If the heifers do not hit target weights at bulling it is likely there will be reduced conception rates.

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When mating heifers for two year old calving, by 15 months of age they should have reached at least 65 per cent of mature body weight. Heifer mating should occur two to three weeks prior to the main herd, as maiden heifers are anoestrous 15 – 20 days longer post-calving than cows.

So they need to be bulled earlier than the cows to ensure they are cycling with the main herd the following mating season.

This means that the aim needs to be for puberty at 13 months to mate at 14 months. Puberty should occur at 60 per cent of mature weight.

For more farming news, pick up a copy of this week’s Carluke and Lanark Gazette which is out now.