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Effect of fertility on the economics of pasture-based dairy systems

  • L. Shalloo (a1), A. Cromie (a2) and N. McHugh (a1)

Abstract

There are significant costs associated with reproductive inefficiency in pasture-based dairy herds. This study has quantified the economic effect of a number of key variables associated with reproductive inefficiency in a dairy herd and related them to 6-week calving rate for both cows and heifers. These variables include: increased culling costs, the effects of sub optimum calving dates, increased labour costs and increased artificial insemination (AI) and intervention costs. The Moorepark Dairy Systems Model which is a stochastic budgetary simulation model was used to simulate the overall economic effect at farm level. The effect of change in each of the components was simulated in the model and the costs associated with each component was quantified. An analysis of national data across a 4-year period using the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation database was used to quantify the relationship between the 6-week calving rate of a herd with survivability (%), calving interval (days) and the level of AI usage. The costs associated with increased culling (%), calving date slippage (day), increased AI and intervention costs (0.1 additional inseminations), as well as, increased labour costs (10%) were quantified as €13.68, €3.86, €4.56 and €29.6/cow per year. There was a statistically significant association between the 6-week calving rate and survivability, calving interval and AI usage at farm level. A 1% change in 6-week calving rate was associated with €9.26/cow per annum for cows and €3.51/heifer per annum for heifers. This study does not include the indirect costs such as reduced potential for expansion, increased costs associated with failing to maintain a closed herd as well as the unrealised potential within the herd.

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References

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Keywords

Effect of fertility on the economics of pasture-based dairy systems

  • L. Shalloo (a1), A. Cromie (a2) and N. McHugh (a1)

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