Dairy farmers can now access an updated, online version of AHDB Dairy’s Heifer Rearing Cost Calculator to work out how much it is costing to rear heifers on their specific farm.
The tool enables farmers to input their own costs for their heifer rearing programme; alternatively, they can use updated, default values to support their own data. These values have been calculated following farm trial work carried out by AHDB Dairy and The Royal Veterinary College.
The calculator splits the rearing period into three key stages – birth to weaning; weaning to conception and conception to calving. Farmers can then input parameters such as target age at first calving, average heifer first lactation yields, forage growing inputs, forage quality and milk and concentrate use. A cost for each stage and a total cost is then calculated.
AHDB Dairy’s dairy senior scientist Dr Jenny Gibbons said farmers had much to gain from calculating costs. The RVC and AHDB trial found rearing costs varied from an average £1,800 to £3,000 per heifer.
“The more informed you are, the better business decisions you can make,” said Dr Gibbons. “This calculator enables you to work out your costs, for your heifers, on your system. That means you can focus on specific areas where you can make savings.”