Heifers are the keystone to improving your herd in the long-term. Carefully selected heifers result in a more productive cow herd, but you’ve got to have clearly defined goals and selection criteria to get there.
In this Beef School episode, Dr. John McKinnon, professor with the University of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Beef Industry Chair, outlines what makes an ideal replacement heifer, why detailed record keeping can be your best friend, plus which traits are passed from cow to heifer (and from her sire too!).
As McKinnon explains in the video below, you’re looking for heifers that reach puberty early, catch early, drop calves easily that grow quickly, and then cycle back in a timely fashion, ready to join the cow herd. It sounds simple, but there’s much to consider.
How do you identify the best of the best? Confirmation certainly matters, but so does a heifer’s lineage, her own birthday (early is best), and when she reached the desired percent of mature weight and was bred. From there, McKinnon also discusses feeding strategies to get heifers to the desired weight, and why doing a little homework on records is time well spent.