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Girl Power: Prioritising heifer performance

18 November 2022


With reproductive performance of females in self-replacing breeder operations across rangeland Australia being challenged by decadal dries, the Desert Uplands Committee in Central West Queensland (CWQ) partnering with CHRRUP is rolling out their MLA funded Producer demonstration site (PDS) project GIRL POWER: Prioritising Heifer Performance.  

This PDS aims to demonstrate that best management practices developed from research and experience in other regions, along with the recommendations from the recently released Tips and Tools on Heifer Management, can cost effectively improve heifer productivity given the limited feedbase and native pasture composition in the Desert Uplands.


By August 2024, in the Desert Uplands Bioregion of Queensland, the project will achieve the following:

1. 10 core producers will demonstrate and assess the potential of heifer best management practices (BMP) to:

a. Narrow the mating period in maiden heifers down to 42 days

b. Achieve 84% conception rates by optimising the timing of this six-week mating period

c. Achieve re-conception rates of first calf heifers to a minimum of 70%.

2. Cost benefit analysis on two PDSs to determine the financial impact of implementing heifer BMP in the Desert Uplands.

3. 100% of core producers and 50% of observer producers will, or will intend to, collect the appropriate data and implement heifer best management practices.

4. 100% of core producers and 50% of observer producers will have increased their knowledge, skills and confidence in relation to heifer BMP through field days and other activities.

Project update

Measuring pertinent details on three consecutive age cohorts in heifers from weaning to second calf and critical aspects of early development will be identified and improved.  On the backdrop of a second consecutive above-average pasture growing year, two PDSs have recorded weaning and joining weights and pregnancy results on the project’s first and second heifer cohorts. Ten supporting core producer herds are also contributing to this data collection. These activities will provide data to inform next steps in meeting the projects key outputs and deliverables of cost effectively meeting critical mating weight and time of joining.

Information and resources from the project were presented at the Project Field Days at PDS properties at Alpha and Aramac in March 2022.

The MLA sponsored Blackall BeefUp Forum on 6 September had a focus on females, fertility, feed and the future. The Girl Power project was a feature contributor to this program.