Survey of Calf and Heifer Management Practices in Pennsylvania Dairy Herds

A. J. Heinrichs, N. E. Kiernan, R. E. Graves, L. J. Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Three hundred and twenty-nine farms, representing 39 counties in Pennsylvania, were surveyed to determine current calf and heifer management practices. This survey was designed to enhance countywide extension education objectives and determine needs in dairy replacement management. All surveys were conducted on-farm via personal interviews with the dairy farmers. Results showed average herd size of 63 cows, milk production 7015 kg, milk fat 3.8%, milk protein 3.3%, and average age at first calving 26.6 mo. Overall calf mortality (up to 1 yr of age) was 8.7%. Husbandry practices for the newborn calf were deficient in many aspects. Timing and amount of colostrum feeding were problem areas. Based on the types and varieties of forages fed to heifers, much improvement is needed in nutrition to enhance replacement performance. Dairy farmers perceive housing and nutrition as two problem areas for their neighbors as well as themselves in replacement management. The results of this survey identified many specific areas of replacement management that could be the focus of educational programs to reduce calf mortality and decrease average age at first calving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)896-904
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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