December 5, 1998 | By: Haven Miller

Some Kentucky dairy farmers have found a way of reducing costs and increasing profits. They're letting someone else raise their dairy heifers.

"By having another farmer raise the heifers, a dairy farmer can milk more cows, make better use of the milking parlor, and make more money" said Bill Crist, a dairy specialist for the UK College of Agriculture.

Crist said more and more farmers are raising dairy heifers these days. He said the dairy producer usually pays them a certain amount per day, usually $1.25 to $1.50 per animal. Some are paying by the pound.

Raising a heifer to 24 months will cost between $450 and $650 for feed, depending on the feed a farmer has available.

"A pasture system is generally the lowest cost," said Crist, "but a grain mix will need to be fed in addition to pasturing to keep the animals growing properly." He said health and breeding costs could add $40 to $50, and some death loss would have to be considered.

The recommended weight for heifers at 24 months is between 1300 and 1350 pounds. Crist said that means the calf's average gain should be a little less than 2 pounds per day.

Crist said farmers considering raising dairy heifers should not jump in without first

considering the market.

"This can be a good business," he said, "but right now may not be the best time to buy. Milk prices are good right now, and heifer prices are high."

Crist said a good source of information on raising heifers is the farmer's UK County

Extension Agent for Agriculture.


Writer: Haven Miller
(606) 257-3784

Source: Bill Crist
(606) 257-7543