Adding value to a dairy herd

Adding value to a dairy herd

Dairy farmers are always looking at ways to increase the value of their herds. The management style has a major effect on the value of cows, heifers and their combined output. Although some farmers may be good at producing feeds; such as growing pastures, making hay or silage, some do not apply good animal management. Adding value to a dairy herd can be done in different ways with short, medium and long term effects.

Maintaining (or increasing) the number of cows in a dairy herd has a major effect on the value of the herd. Each animal in the herd has an intrinsic value. This means that they should be managed to produce an income at the highest possible level. A major loss in many dairy herds is the large number of cows and heifers culled every year before reaching their lifetime potential income. Reducing the number of cows culled has an add-on effect as cows live longer reaching higher milk yield levels in third to fifth lactation while a smaller number of replacement heifers are required to maintain the herd size. As fewer heifers are required to replace cows, it provides additional heifers to be sold as an additional income source for the dairy farm to dairy herds suffering from high cull rates or wanting to expand their herds. As the heritability of productive life is low, i.e. about 8%, it means that environmental factors have a major effect on the lifetime and productive lifetime of cows. In many cases cows are lost from the herd because of involuntary culling. This means that cows are culled because of preventable reasons such as recurring mastitis, not becoming pregnant, injuries, diseases and health. Very few cows are culled voluntarily because of low milk yields.

The full article is for subscribed members only. To view the full article please subscribe. It’s FREE!Log In Register

Author

  • Research Associate, Faculty of Animal Sciences, University of Stellenbosch

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Please share this article with your friends!

Related Articles

All
  • All
  • Awards
  • Business
  • Crops
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Featured Article
  • Finance
  • Health
  • Hospitality
  • Human Resources
  • Irrigation
  • Latest News
  • Lifestyle
  • Livestock
  • Recipes
  • Soil
  • Under cover farming
  • Water
Agriculture transformation

The COVID-19 recovery is a chance to transform global agriculture

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the risks of unhealthy diets and the extreme fragility of the global food system. It disproportionately affects people who are...
Container management

Why Container Management Matters

Plastic polymers such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are extremely valuable as packaging materials for a wide range of commodities because they are light (in mass),...
Agro-processing

Opportunities in Agro-Processing

The article intends to highlight the many opportunities within the agro-processing industry for agricultural engineers to assist small and medium scale agro-processing entrepreneurs with entering...
Posted in

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisements