Calving heifers at two years old is more efficient and productive than doing this later, however, on average, the UK beef industry is currently calving cows at 33.6 months.
We ask Simon Marsh, beef cattle specialist at Harper Adams University, for his top tips on calving herd replacements at a younger age.
Simon Marsh’s top tips on calving at a younger age
1 Focus on maternal genetics and maternal EBVs – we have too many big suckler cows with not enough milk in the UK
2 Select heifers on temperament, family breeding and size – not too small and not too big
3 High early life growth allows you to control condition in the last trimester
4 Once calved, manage heifers in a group on their own
5 Replacements are the future of your herd – look after them
6 Ensure cows are 65% of their mature weight at mating. Aim to get high growth rates in the first two-thirds of life
7 Select replacements born early in the calving season – these will likely be from more fertile cows and heavier at bulling
8 Only allow heifers to run for two cycles
9 Aim for a condition score of 2.25-2.5 at calving