Penn State Extension Dairy Team Assists with Estimating Herd Dynamics

Posted: September 24, 2014

PSU Herd Metrics App now available; Will assist with estimating annual heifer needs and heifer production.

Today's increased investment cost for replacement animals has producers examining their heifer inventories and replacement needs. There are several key metrics that are used to determine each of these heifer-related needs, and are the basis for the Penn State Extension Dairy Team's newly released app, PSU Herd Metrics. This free mobile app is accessible at: and runs on any Windows, Android, or Apple device with an internet connection. This app is designed to assist dairy producers and consultants with estimating annual heifer needs and heifer production.

It is comprised of four sections:

* Data Entry: Determine the current heifer needs and production of an operation

* Graph: Displays the impact of entered metrics on the heifer system and lactating herd

* Scenarios: Allows users to run "what-if" cases to see how changes in base metrics affect overall heifer flow

* Assessing Economics: Provides the opportunity to estimate what value a herd's current level of culling and heifer inventories may provide to gross revenue or costs

Controlling costs is just as important as ensuring the quality and quantity of heifers entering the dairy herd. Understanding a herd's unique heifer needs and availability based on key herd metrics can achieve insight into potential limitations or excess availability of heifers. Controlling these metrics to improve access to replacement opens the dairy business to greater control of quality of heifers becoming their next lactating herd participants. Funding for this project was made possible by USDA - Risk Management Agency.

For more information contact Rob Goodling, Penn State Extension Associate,, 717-270-4391.