Making the decision on which heifers to keep back for replacements can start as early as that heifer’s birth. Bob Larson, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ABVP, Dipl. ACVPM, Kansas State University, says the main criteria for whether or not heifer calves are potential replacements are their age and the presence of any undesirable traits that can be passed from their dam or sire.

“In most situations, I want to select heifers that are born in the first 40 days of the calving season as potential replacements to ensure that they are of sufficient age to reach puberty early enough to allow breeding ahead of the mature herd,” Larson says.

“If dams have any udder or behavioral problems that can be passed to their daughters, they should not be identified as potential replacements.”

Read more about establishing beef heifer momentum in herds at Bovine Veterinarian.