Dairy Heifer Growth Curves

To ensure the viability of a dairy enterprise it is essential to grow the heifers out to reach breeding height and weight by 14-16 months, by which time they should have reached 85% of their mature mass.

This can only be achieved by carefully monitoring their growth rates throughout the first 18 months of their lives. The chart attached shows recommended growth and height targets for larger breeds like Holstein and Brown Swiss. Jerseys and smaller breeds are about 20% lower, but the graph follows the same curve.

The dairy farmer should weigh and measure his growing heifers on a regular basis, preferably the same day every month. Information gathered is transferred to the chart attached, either individually for small herds, or on a group basis in large herds. Any deviations in growth (height or mass) can be quickly spotted and rectified in time.