The success of a heifer-rearing program can be evaluated by monitoring the height and weight of calves and heifers and comparing the results to breed averages for specific age groups. Although most dairy producers, consultants, feed industry representatives, and veterinarians can recognize under- or overconditioned animals, it is difficult to visually determine whether a heifer’s height or weight is normal for her age. The only real way to tell how heifers are growing is to weigh and measure them several times a year and compare them to standards. With this information, managers can identify potential problems in the rearing program. Whole groups of animals that are undersized, underweight, or overweight indicate improper feeding or management.
The Growth Monitor spreadsheet series provides a set of tools to evaluate heifer growth. Options within the series provide flexibility for monitoring multiple or individual animals, plotting heifer body weight or withers height against current growth standards, and calculating average daily weight gains. These options are available in separate files for each breed. In addition, hip heights may be entered and evaluated for Holstein heifers.
Instructions for using the spreadsheets are located here. Group Growth Monitor, Individual Growth Monitor, and Repeated files, choose the files for the breed you are interested in to compare your heifers to standards for that breed. The Group ADG Monitor file can be used with any breed.