New weighband could help monitor growth rates

Dairy calf growth rates can now be accurately measured thanks to a new weighband.

The Volac weighband developed by Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute has been calibrated to provide a good estimate of calf weight in kilogrammes. Calves should be weighed at birth and again at six months as a minimum.

The aim of monitoring is to help heifers meet the two-year target calving, explained Volac’s Maggie Gould.

“Growth has a direct effect on age at first calving and lifetime production – larger calves with faster growth rates are big enough to be served earlier and therefore younger at first calving.

“Consequently meeting growth rate targets throughout the entire rearing priod is essential if target age and weight at first calving are to be met,” she said.

For example, to calve at 24 months, a 40kg calf at birth should reach 550kg bodyweight at calving – that’s an average 0.7kg daily gain throughout her entire rearing period, or 510kg gain over 730 days.

The weighband retails at £10 with the first 50 farmers placing their order with Volac securing a free weighband. Order yours now at 0800 919 808.

Sarah Trickett on G+

More on this topic

For more information on monitoring heifer growth rates, including a how to video on using a weighband, visit Farmers Weekly’s Stop the Loss page

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