Relevant Products

Once bred heifers can improve margins for suckler farmers.  Well grown heifers should be selected for breeding at 15 months and calving at 24 months.  Heifers should be around 65% of mature weight, without being fat.  Bulls will need to be selected for calving ease and low birth weight.

Target growth for once bred heifers

  Target age (months) Target weight (kg)
Service 15 380-400
Calving 24 500-540
Finishing (calf removed) 26 520-560
Finishing (calf reared) 30 560-600

Source: EBLEX

Heifers should be pregnancy scanned and any empty heifers finished and sold.  Heifers should calve down in good condition (BCS 4) so that they can be finished quickly.  Heifers will suckle their calves for 2-3 days, and then they can either be double suckled on another cow or reared artificially on calf milk replacer.  Alternatively, the heifer can rear her own calf for 6 months provided she is fed to improve body condition and then finished quickly.

Target heifer body condition

  Autumn calving Spring calving Summer calving
Calving 2.5-3.0 2.0-2.5 2.0-2.5
Service 2.5-3.0 2.5 2.5-3.0
Turnout 2.0 2.0 2.0
Housing 2.5-3.0 3.0 2.5

Source: EBLEX

One of the biggest challenges with this system is monitoring and adjusting body condition.  Also, markets for the once bred heifers will need to be assured before beginning the system.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email