Missouri System of Dairy Heifer Production

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Kenneth W. Bailey
Department of Agricultural Economics
Jennifer Garrett, James N. Spain and Barry Steevens
Department of Animal Sciences
David K. Hardin, DVM and Richard F. Randle, DVM, MS
College of Veterinary Medicine
John A. Hoehne and Joseph M. Zulovich
Department of Agricultural Engineering

Missouri has many resources conducive to producing dairy heifers. This manual offers a production and financial plan to use these resources to supply replacement heifers for a growing dairy industry. Included are guidelines for site selection, animal flow, nutrition and feeding management, breeding and genetics, culling, health, marketing and labor.

The Missouri plan is designed to supply replacement needs of a 1,000-cow dairy. This example develops heifers from newborn through 60 days precalving, requiring about 22 months. In the production plan, 38 newborn — less than one week old — calves are purchased each month over the 10-year planning horizon. The example operation reaches steady state production by the end of the second year, producing 30.3 bred heifers, 2.2 open heifers, and 2.8 cull heifers for sale each month.


  • Dairy heifers
  • Replacement heifers


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