The successful management of replacement heifers is as much a technical as an economic issue for dairy farmers, since it predetermines the career of the future dairy cows (productivity and longevity) and the reproduction parameters. Galascorus® is a practical growth management tool for heifers, the main aim of which is to provide dairy farmers with guidance on how to raise their young livestock in order successfully to refresh their dairy herd.
In practice, Galascorus® is used to get a summary and visual report on the development of each heifer in the herd. The data measured on farms (real weight or thoracic measurements and height at the withers) are entered in the software, which also takes into account weight at calving, live adult weight and the characteristics of the races on the farm. Once these data have been entered, a visual graphic representation of the growth of the heifers and their morphology is available. The estimate of the weight of the heifers on the theoretical date of artificial insemination is also provided by the software.
The objective tracking of the heifers’ growth and morphology parameters, suggested by Galascorus®, thus enables the farmer to spot any deviations and establish the points where progress can be made in managing his heifers: feed and health management, insemination schedule, etc.
The result of a wide-ranging field study:
Galascorus® was developed as a result of a wide-ranging field study conducted by CCPA in 2012, during which 1,200 heifers were measured on the following criteria:
- development: real weight or thoracic measurement,
- morphology: height at the withers.
The results of this study, completed by bibliographical data, were used to update the growth objectives of dairy heifers and to model morphology objectives, according to race, live adult weight target and age objective at calving.