Steaming jersey heifers

Location
Wales
New to dairy and just trying to glean a bit of your collective wisdom. What are peoples views on this practice pre calving.
Will be milking Pedigree Jersey heifers in a robot. Feed rep
has recommended steaming them up with concentrates 3 months prior to calving. Call me sceptical but I’m very wary of people selling things and their advice 😅. Can anyone on here enlighten me on what their preferred pre-calving routine would consist of? I appreciate the cattle need to be on a good plane of nutrition but as a former suckler cow farmer this practice is new to me.
 
Last edited:

Bald Rick

Moderator
Livestock Farmer
Location
Anglesey
New to dairy and just trying to glean a bit of your collective wisdom. What are peoples views on this practice pre calving.
Will be milking Pedigree Jersey heifers in a robot. Feed rep
has recommended steaming them up with concentrates 3 months prior to calving. Call me sceptical but I’m very wary of people selling things and their advice 😅. Can anyone on here enlighten me on what their preferred pre-calving routine would consist of? I appreciate the cattle need to be on a good plane of nutrition but as a former suckler cow farmer this practice is new to me.

Don't do it.

We keep them on either grazing (I know, incredible) over summer or relatively decent silage (but not the best) when inside then move them in to the transition shed 3-4 weeks prior to calving to go on to the dry cow ration which is high in straw content but includes essential minerals albeit you wont suffer milk fever from heifers.

You do not want a fat heifer. Welcome to come & pick our brains (well, son's not mine)

If you have the time, you could try running them through the robot pre-calving to get them use to it and perhaps offer 1/2 kg of nut and run the arm without attaching so they get used to the noise but to be honest, we put well over 700 heifers through the bots without ever pre-training and without too much hassle
 

Sandpit Farm

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Derbyshire
If you can hit minimum intakes of 12kg DM of forage intake, you should have it nailed. It is hard as they get close to calving so maybe there is a place for some rolls but I think there are definitely alternatives. Lots of things you can do to make sure calcium isn't an issue without having to buy expensive nuts.
 
Location
cumbria
Thought this meant something else when I read the title🙈.

12wk feeding is definitely not standard practice, never mind best practice.
Only caveat I can think of is that this rep has possibly seen the hfrs in question, where we have not. Still unlikely though.
 

Rossymons

Member
Location
Cornwall
New to dairy and just trying to glean a bit of your collective wisdom. What are peoples views on this practice pre calving.
Will be milking Pedigree Jersey heifers in a robot. Feed rep
has recommended steaming them up with concentrates 3 months prior to calving. Call me sceptical but I’m very wary of people selling things and their advice 😅. Can anyone on here enlighten me on what their preferred pre-calving routine would consist of? I appreciate the cattle need to be on a good plane of nutrition but as a former suckler cow farmer this practice is new to me.

Steaming animals up? The 1970s have called and they want their cake rep back
 

Spudley

Member
Location
Pembrokeshire
Not Jerseys and not robots but our heifers join the herd about 2 weeks before they calve so they can get used to the parlour, they will get 1 kg of cake per day for that 2 weeks but none since the previous winter.

I like to calve heifers young and lean. We learned that the hard way this year when 5 heifers calved 4 months after their mates, the first 30 pretty much calved themselves but the last bunch I pulled them all and lost 2 calves as they were massive.
 

Rossymons

Member
Location
Cornwall
Thanks for all the replies everyone, TFF really is a great resource. I’ll be taking all your advice on board and avoiding unnecessary expense 👍.

It's not the cost of the feed I would be worried about but the cost of their advice. As mentioned above it's not standard practice let alone good practice. A couple dead calves and an injured cow that doesn't get back incalf and his cake bill is relatively small in comparison to your loss.

How long have you been working with them?
 
Location
East Mids
Most heifers are in danger of running over-fat and as jerseys are 'good doers' they can survive better on thin air than my Holsteins. Our i/c heifers are on an old meadow with no supplements and just verging on starting to get a bit too buttery, we start calving on 12th August. We aim to get them in 2-3 weeks before calving and they will be on hay and a pre-calver bucket, they don't get anything else other than rock salt.
 

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AHDB planting and variety survey

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The AHDB Planting and Variety Survey provides the earliest view of the planted area for the upcoming harvest in the United Kingdom (UK).​


Complete the Planting and Variety Survey

The survey will estimate the area of cereals and oilseed rape intended for harvest in 2022 in the UK. It aims to assess the varietal composition of wheat, barley, oats and oilseed rape crops in the UK. The results of this survey will allow the industry to quantify domestic production, at a time when food security is more important than ever.
The information can be used to shape the domestic market and trade and assist levy payers in their marketing decisions. It will detail regional differences of cropping across the UK, which will help...
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