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While lockdown restrictions continue to ease across the UK, many dairy farmers will perhaps see li le di erence in their own day-to-day lives. However, how the economic hangover from Covid-19 plays out remains to be seen. For the dairy sector, in the current climate the recently published dairy costings focus report from Kingshay suggest a positive picture in terms of improved margins, albeit balanced by an increase in many input prices. Farmers will always look for cost savings and gains, and many consider an area where large gains can be made is during the heifer rearing stage. It is a time when feed conversion ratios are high and research into epigenetics show us those early months will have a profound impact on an animal’s production as an adult. Our youngstock rearing focus looks at important aspects of this stage, particularly nutrition in terms of what to look for in a milk powder replacement. Selecting heifers Ultrasound scanning calves lungs is a relatively new way of detecting sub-clinical pneumonia in calves and could have an impact on how some farmers choose the heifers they breed from. And in a world of increasing levels of automation, we also take a look at some of the automatic calf feeders on the market, delving into costs and potential bene ts. As we race through 2020, thoughts may begin to turn to the back end of the year. ere is no denying it has been an up and down year when it comes to grass growth. Farmers in some parts of the UK may well be pinning their hopes on later cuts of silage to bolster forage reserves for winter. Slurry and housing also becomes a greater consideration as we enter the la er part of the year. So this month we have highlighted some kit designed to make lighter work of cubicle management. We also explore some slurry storage solutions, which are particularly relevant as we start to think about how changes to the rules regarding the covering of slurry stores will impact dairy farm infrastructure in the coming years.