A NEW program could help dairy farmers improve their heifer management and in turn offer good payback for farm businesses.
Dairy Australia's new on-farm Heifers on Target program is currently being rolled out between now and June.
This is a time of year when many heifers may face a feed shortfall, or fall behind in their growth rates.
The free two-hour sessions will give farmers the opportunity to talk with fellow farmers and expert facilitators.
The sessions will equip them with additional tools for smarter heifer rearing.
Dr Jamie McNeil from the Korumburra Veterinary Clinic facilitated a pilot session this month.
"The challenge has always been how to find the time to check and monitor heifer growth up until they enter the herd," Dr McNeil said.
"Weighing is a valuable task to undertake.
"But these workshops give farmers other tools to help determine how their heifers are travelling.
"These tools can be used while sitting at the kitchen table.
"It doesn't matter the size of your enterprise or the amount of resources available."
A list of guidelines and tools has been developed in consultation with a wide range of farmers and Australian experts in heifer rearing.
Bill Lack of Advance TAFE, who is responsible for heifer rearing at Macalister Demonstration Farm and attended the pilot session, said the Heifers on Target program was useful to assess his own practices.
"I found it valuable," Mr Lack said.
"It was short, sharp, didn't take up a lot of time and was a good way of getting the messages across.
"I'm planning on using the new app to help plan how to get heifers to target weight.
"We weigh our heifers regularly, but it'll let us work towards reaching our targets more effectively."
Free Heifers on Target sessions are being held on-farm up until June.
They are being co-ordinated by local Regional Development Programs.
Farmers interested in attending should contact their local Regional Development Programs.
They can also visit here.
Registration is essential.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.