25 December 1998

Late concentrates for extra litres

FEEDING milking heifers extra concentrate in late lactation can increase yield by almost 3 litres a day in the following lactation.

So Liam Sinclair told the seminar, reporting work from IGER, Aberystwyth, where heifers were fed either 2kg or 7kg of concentrates for the last four months of lactation.

When fed an additional 5kg of concentrates, heifers yielded an extra 4 litres a day and gained more body condition. But those calving at two years old also produced about 3 litres a day extra throughout their second lactation. Heifers calving at three years old showed less yield benefit from extra concentrates.

Dr Sinclair added that heifers were often bullied and, therefore, have less access to forage. He suggested managing heifers in a separate group to improve performance in their current and subsequent lactations. When that was not possible, ensure there was adequate trough space, enough cubicles and that cubicles were comfortable.