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The perfect weight to breed heifers from

Patrick Bolger

| Cattle & Dairy

| Apr 25, 2018

Cow calves in field

Over the last number of years there has been a shift from getting heifers calving down from three years of age to around two years. It is something that has been widely practised in the dairy sector and is now also being implemented in suckler herds.

But what are the benefits of calving down a year earlier?

Most are obvious:

  • The output from the cow is increased over her life time.
  • Less stock to carry for a year.
  • Faster genetic improvements within the herd.

So early calving down is all well and good in theory. But one of the major factors that is going to make this achievable is making sure heifers are at a specific weight. At a minimum, they should have reached 60% of their mature weight when it comes to breeding. This is usually the case when they hit the 15-month mark.

Breeding heifers early who are too small is only going to cause you problems at calving time. This is something which no farmer wants, and it may also lead to a poor output when it comes to milk and fertility.

With breeding already kicking off on a lot of farms, we have complied a list of target breeding weights of different cattle breeds.

See below and find out whether your heifers are on target to get them calving down at two years of age.

Dairy:

Breed Weight at 15 Months (kg)
Holstein 350
New Zealand / British Friesian 330
Norwegian Red X Holstein 350
Jersey X 300
Jersey 240

Beef:

Breed Weight at 15 Months (Kg)
Limousin X 420
Simmental X 400
Charolais X 430
Hereford X 370
Angus X 370
Other Breeds 390 – 450

Click on the links to find out how to prepare your Dairy or your Suckler cows for the breeding season.

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