Here are some key considerations when planning heifer management:

  • Nutrition and the annual pasture curve is extremely important in many regions, especially where seasonal feed troughs last for extended periods every year in the dry tropics of northern Australia. Establishing the ‘green date’ is a very useful strategy (see section below).
  • It’s more problematic to set a joining date in regions of high rainfall variability.
  • Producers will likely need to rely on dependable spring rainfall to target premium weaner markets in late autumn.

‘Green date’ is a useful concept in grazing systems where summer perennial grasses are the main component of the pasture base. It’s usually defined as the number of days after 1 October to achieve a 70% chance of receiving 50mm of rain over a maximum of three days. It’s based on soil temperatures and pasture responses to a specified amount of rain.

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If using a ‘green date’, joining should commence one month after the ‘green date’ so that in most years, there will be a good body of feed available when breeders are lactating and cycling.

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