The use of beef semen on the dairy herd provides added income when it comes to selling bull calves, but there’s so much more to like about incorporating beef semen into a breeding program and a lot is related to using beef semen in correlation with rightsizing heifer inventories.
“Fewer numbers of heifers is always easier to manage — cost wise, personnel wise, and stress wise,” explained Dairy Manager David Moser on what additional benefits Oakridge Dairy has seen from reducing heifer inventories. “We have decreased our labor in the calving barn. Some of that is due to fewer animals, but also we’ve streamlined our processes. When we have fewer animals in our facility, we definitely see a lower rate of health events, too.
“From a big picture perspective, it’s also great for the industry,” the Connecticut dairy manager elaborated. “The reason the heifer markets in the last couple of years have been so low is because of the low milk price and high heifer inventory. Managing heifer inventories can help us regulate this.”
Three other farms shared additional insight in this Hoard’s Dairyman Intel as well as the Round Table “We breed for the number we need” found on pages 116 to 118 of the February 25, 2020, issue of Hoard’s Dairyman.
Here are their responses regarding the question, “What other benefits have you seen from managing your heifer inventories?”
Helt Dairy, Dane, Wis.: We have seen a benefit for our facilities as we no longer need to overcrowd our calves, and that has had a positive impact on our animal health. Fewer heifers also means less labor required. Further, I think we see some benefits from not raising our lower genetic value animals.
SwissLane Farms, Alto, Mich.: Controlling the number of heifers we raise has reduced costs across the farm and made it more profitable.
Zahncroft Dairy, Womelsdorf, Pa.: Raising fewer heifers has allowed us to provide greater attention to detail on the animals we are raising. In addition, all areas are impacted when you have healthier and better grown animals.
Read more on how these farms breed for the number they need in February 25 issue or in these Hoard’s Dairyman Intels:
Too many heifers. Now what?
Culling and heifer inventories are tied
It’s either sexed or beef semen for them