Dairy Event 2009: Many cows never make a profit, says NMR

Many cows could be making a financial loss simply because of a lack of technical sustainability, revealed new data from NMR.

Cows not making it to the third lactation will often not repay their rearing costs, said NMR’s Ben Bartlett speaking at the Dairy Event and Livestock Show

“With the average number of lactations 2.6 for NMR milk recorded cows and many cows not calving until 28 months, their break-even point for payback is in their third lactation.”

“Farms may think they are financially sustainable, but if they are not technically sustainable their financial stability will be short-lived,” he said.

A cow lifetime daily yield is a good measure of technical sustainability, said Mr Bartlett. “It is not a new measure, but it takes into account of all aspects of technical performance.”

For example the top 10% of NMR recorded herds ranked on LDY have an average score of 14.58kg/day compared o the bottom 10% at 5.72kg/day. “This is a difference of 19,000l a cow over three average lactations and is a significant financial difference,” he said.

This wide difference between herds is also seen with calving intervals. Those in the top 25% of NMR recorded herds have an average calving interval of 391 days compared with 462 days for the bottom 25%. Likewise, those in the top 25% for days to first service stand at 81 days compared with 130 days for those in the bottom 25%.

“Producers need to look at all areas of technical performance, including management practices and trends in their herds. Improving fertility and reducing the age of calving for heifers can improve the herds technical and financial sustainability,” he said.

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