An updated 4-H dairy heifer management record form can help teach youth in the dairy project the basics of animal development, breeding and costs of production – factors that are critical to the business side of raising heifers.
Developed by UW-Madison dairy youth specialist Ted Halbach and former Kewaunee County agricultural agent Jennifer Keuning, the record form was updated with input from Pat Hoffman, Extension dairy nutritionist at the Marshfield station. The form is part of the “Dairy Three” project level which is suggested for youth in grades 9-13.
“I am a big advocate of youth completing this form for their heifers. It is much more in-depth than other project records,” Halbach explained. “Many youth who grow up on family dairy farms know little about how much it costs to raise dairy cattle because their parents simply don”t talk to them about the business side of the farm.”
The revised record form includes a chart of tracking costs of feed, bedding, veterinary bills, housing, equipment and labor. The 4-H member can compare her or his actual costs with actual average costs listed in the record form. The form also encourages youth to examine their animals” genetic history, explain why they chose a particular bull for breeding to their heifer, and what traits they were trying to improve upon with their breeding choices.
The form also lets dairy project members keep track of development and veterinary health records.
The updated 4-H Heifer Management Record form can be found at www.uwex.edu/ces/dairyyouth/ under project forms or http://www.uwex.edu/ces/4h/ under publications.