Spending 700 to contract rear a heifer up to calving would be hard to beat when rearing the animal at home, believes Promar”s Stuart McClennan.

 “No one is going to make a fortune out of contract heifer rearing. But it”s enabling dairy prodcuers who want to stop milking to make good use of their buildings and stock rearing skills. “And as some herds take the other option and expand, it enables them to release buildings, labour and other costs associated with rearing replacements.”

 Heifer replacement costings produced by Promar show that it costs 692 to rear a heifer to calve at 30-months. That figures is based on a total rearing cost of 1042 less a cull cow value of 350. At a replacement rate of 25% per year, the annual cost is 173/cow in the herd.

 A breakdown of these figures for a 30-month calver puts feed costs at 80, other variable costs at 185 and labour at 250. “However, it”s important to have a close working relationship with the person rearing heifers and to establish the management targets that need to be achieved,” he advises.

 “Having a control over costs is the key to profitability and contract heifer rearing is certainly worth considering as a means of allocating a fixed figure to cover replacements costs ea