Animal Science - Dairy Heifer
Our diary heifer research and outreach program focuses on providing quality heifer calves that meet the genetic potential for milk production. We study complete pre- and post-weaning nutrition and management strategies for commercial dairy calves.
Our research is conducted as part of a unique partnership between the SROC, three commercial dairies representing over 2,000 dairy cows, and allied industry. Calves are at the SROC during the critical growing phase from 2-5 days old up to 6 months of age and then go back to the dairies. This partnership provides over 1,000 calves for our studies each year and also helps maintain the quality of the heifers raised at the SROC.
The large number of calves provided through our research partnership allows us to evaluate a wide spectrum of nutrition and management systems. We experiment with calf starter intake and liquid feeding systems and implement conventional, moderate intensive, and intensive programs to achieve calf performance goals.
Another unique aspect of our research program is our ability to track every calf that leaves the SROC back to the dairies for first lactation production data. These data sets are used for a comprehensive analysis to better understand how calf growth and health in the first 6 months impacts first lactation performance.