First Calf Heifers

by Alastair Rayner

It has been very common for many herds to have joined larger numbers of heifers. It’s important to remember that young heifers on their first calves will take longer to return to oestrus than mature cows. In average fat scores (Fat Score 3) 2-year-old heifers can be up to 21 days later than mature cows in average fat score. 

This means that joining times need to reflect this difference. Many producers who are attempting to restructure their joining times many be tempted to shorten their joining times. While this will condense calving in 2021, there is a high chance many heifers – particularly those that are smaller, had later calves or are in lighter condition, may not have a chance to rejoin. If you are rejoining a large number of heifers for 2021 calving, this may be an area you need to consider and work through options of a slight extension of joining time.

It’s also important not to neglect an early pregnancy test for the breeding herd. With strong prices for restocking cattle likely to continue into the early part of 2021, identifying cattle that have not rejoined gives an opportunity to offload them into a strong market. It also frees up feed demand for the autumn and winter season.

Alastair Rayner