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Early dry off on heifers

novaman

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Has anyone seen any advantage to drying off first lactation heifers earlier in order to give them a little extra time to regroup for the second lactation? I typically run 55-60 days dry but last year I did have one first lactation heifer that was dried off a bit early (2 weeks if I remember right) from the rest of the herd. She was on the poor side as far as production last year. She came in fresh about a month ago and thus far knocked my socks off with her production. She is near the top for production among the second lactation cows. Is this something that may happen with some consistency from year to year?
 

francismilker

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Generally works well for me. With the price of milk it would just about pay to dry them all off and put them in the pasture though. The one I dried off early was in poor body condition and did fatten up in the extended dry time.
 

bigbull338

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we always tryed to give the cows a 60 day dry period.the only time we would dry them up early is when they dropped below the breakeven point.
 

TexasBred

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Nova when we dairied we only faced that once or twice and both times went ahead and dried the heifer off early. Both times it was spring and we had plenty of grass for grazing for very little additional cost, both cows were definitely bred but one cycle late, and they had great potential. Both milked like champions on the next lactation and bred back on time. In hindsight, I probably would have given them both that extra time even had they been short bred.
 

GMN

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novaman":1z5a5y1y said:
Has anyone seen any advantage to drying off first lactation heifers earlier in order to give them a little extra time to regroup for the second lactation? I typically run 55-60 days dry but last year I did have one first lactation heifer that was dried off a bit early (2 weeks if I remember right) from the rest of the herd. She was on the poor side as far as production last year. She came in fresh about a month ago and thus far knocked my socks off with her production. She is near the top for production among the second lactation cows. Is this something that may happen with some consistency from year to year?

My Vet has recommended this in the past, and i have done it wth a few, did seem to help their overall body condition.

GMN
 

LoveMoo11

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Is the extra production worth the extra cost to feed them for the extra time they aren't producing? They are going to produce more during their second lactation anyways so I would think it would be hard to tell whether or not the extra dry period had anything to do with it. Never tried it though!
 

novaman

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LoveMoo11":11v8b8jk said:
Is the extra production worth the extra cost to feed them for the extra time they aren't producing? They are going to produce more during their second lactation anyways so I would think it would be hard to tell whether or not the extra dry period had anything to do with it. Never tried it though!
Of course they will produce more during the 2nd lact. I was just curious if anyone has ever done it and if they felt it was worth it. I would have thought nothing of it but this cow went from 40 pounds at her peak as a heifer to 90 pounds currently as a second lact. cow.
 

regolith

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I do it every year if the heifer is under-conditioned - most farmers in this country do.
But not otherwise.

A small number will dry themselves off early. That's one black mark against her... (as in, if she does it a second time she's probably not going to be in the herd much longer. But usually it's heifers)
 

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