Optimise heifer performance from spring grazing

25 Apr 2019

Producers taking advantage of the current excellent grass availability, by turning out young stock early, are being reminded to carefully balance heifer diets at this pivotal time.

“Producers are, quite rightly, taking advantage of the excellent conditions and high-quality grass available on so many units right now, but they must be wary,” says Caltech Crystalyx’s Kenton Hart.

Growth checks

“Turning cattle out to grass can be stressful. Their diet is dramatically changed, which can upset the rumen and lead to growth checks. So it is important to manage this transition.”

He adds that supplementing available grass with Crystalyx Cattle Booster can significantly improve animal performance – even on spring grass. Trial work, at Aberystwyth University with dairy heifers turned out onto spring grass, showed that animals with access to the lick gained 100gLW per day more than the control group of heifers on grass alone.

Bulling weight

Research has also confirmed that growing heifers that were supplemented at grass also reach bulling weight approximately six weeks earlier than heifers in the control group. Daily liveweight gains of heifers that were given free access to the supplement increased by 36% compared to the control group.

The lick provides a full complement of minerals, trace elements and vitamins that are needed to balance deficiencies in grass.

Improved performance

“The product never replaces forage,” adds Dr Hart. “It complements and balances it, so the rumen bugs digest the forage more efficiently. This leads to improved animal performance and fertility, from whatever forage there is available.”