Feeding replacement beef heifers

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Source: Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives

Replacement heifers are the future of your cow herd. Proper nutritional management will ensure heifers are an adequate size and in good body condition at breeding time. It is generally recommended that heifers be a minimum of 65% of their mature weight at time of breeding.

These sample rations are intended as guidelines only. They assume adequate vitamin supplementation. Wastage is not taken into account. Forage wastage can be as high as 25-30% in some circumstances. For your specific situation, be sure to obtain a feed analysis and have your rations balanced by a qualified nutritionist.

400-600 lbs (1.5 lbs ADG)
Alfalfa Alfalfa Grass Greenfeed
13.5 lbs alfalfa 10 lbs alfalfa grass 13.5 lbs greenfeed
1 oz 1:1 mineral 3 lbs barley 1 oz 2:1 mineral
1 oz salt 1 oz 1:1 mineral 1 oz salt
1 oz salt
600-800 lbs (1.5 lbs ADG)
Alfalfa Alfalfa Grass Grass Hay
20 lbs alfalfa 15.5 lbs alfalfa grass 15 lbs grass hay
1 oz 1:1 mineral 4 lbs barley 4 lbs barley
1 oz salt 1 oz 1:1 mineral 1 oz 2:1 mineral
1 oz salt 1 oz salt
Late Gestation: 800-1000 lbs (1 lb ADG)
Alfalfa Alfalfa Grass Grass Hay
19.5 lbs alfalfa 22 lbs alfalfa grass hay 22 lbs grass hay
10 lbs grass hay 6.5 lbs barley 5.5 lbs barley
2 oz 1:1 mineral 2 oz 1:1 mineral 2 oz 2:1 mineral
1 oz salt 1 oz salt 1 oz salt

** 1 oz = 28 g = 0.06 lbs **

Ratio of Type of Mineral Mix to Feed

  • 1:1 alfalfa grass, alfalfa, pasture grasses
  • 2:1 greenfeeds, cereal silage, native hay, straw/grain rations

Suggested Trace Mineral Levels in Mineral Mix

  • Selenium (Se) 30 mg/kg
  • Copper (Cu) 2500 mg/kg
  • Manganese (Mn) 8000 mg/kg
  • Zinc (Zn) 8000 mg/kg
  • Cobalt iodized or trace mineralized salt should be fed

Vitamins

Heifer calves require 20,000-25,000 IU Vitamin A/day. This can be provided by routine injection every 60 to 90 days or by the addition of a vitamin A premix to the feed. Lactating heifers require 40,000 IU Vitamin A/day.

For example, if you are feeding a vitamin premix with 1,500,000 IU Vitamin A/kg, 15 g premix/day would provide 22,500 IU Vitamin A/day. Thirty (30) grams would provide a lactating heifer with 45,000 IU Vitamin A/day.

Prepared by
Karen Dupchak
Farm Production Extension, Animal Nutritionist
Manitoba Agriculture Food, and Rural Initiatives

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