In a current USDA NIFA funded research project, members of the Penn State Extension Dairy Team are collecting heifer growth, management, and financial data from 21 organic and 21 conventional dairies in the southeast and central Pennsylvania regions. The educators are tracking heifer growth by collecting measurements at four different time points from birth through freshening. Heifer management questions are asked to the producers at each of the four measuring time points and ranked how the farmer answers the question as a high risk, moderate risk, or low risk practice. Degree of risk is also determined based on on-farm educator observations regarding current management practices. Whole farm financial analyses are completed on each of the 42 farms to separate out the heifer enterprise from the dairy to find out the cost to raise a heifer from birth to first calving. More than 700 heifers have been measured across all the farms and many different heifer management practices have been observed that have influenced heifer growth. With the results from this project, the questions that will be addressed include: What are the management practices associated with farms with different heifer production costs? How have heifer growth differences impacted the cost per heifer? How are heifer production costs influencing the dairy breakeven cost of production? At the conclusion of the study, the educators plan to focus on improved management strategies relating to heifer nutrition, housing, and health programs that can address the problems that contribute to a higher heifer cost of production.
|Conference||2022 National Farm Business Management Conference|
|Presentation Type||Concurrent Session|