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News Ju l y - Au g u s t 2 0 1 8

Optimize profit per stall

Julie Ainsworth, Coordinator Dairy Production Analysis, PAS Cows & Production by Lactation


305-Day Milk

Now more than ever it is important to make sure each stall on your dairy is occupied by the most profitable cows. One way to improve profit per stall is to change the makeup of your herd and milk a higher percentage of older cows as they are typically the best producers. This graph reflects a typical trend for dairies I work with and shows the improvements in production by lactation. In this example, the difference in production from first to second lactation animals is significant (over 5,500 pounds) and adds up quickly. Albeit a bit optimistic right now, at $16 milk these additional pounds can add nearly $900 more in revenue per cow. While every herd must have some first lactation animals to replace non-productive older cows, keeping that percentage around 30-32 percent helps minimize the drag. Breeding every cow to a dairy bull and milking every resulting heifer generally goes against this idea. Breeding a portion of your herd to beef can help keep the percentage of first lactation cows in check, and maximizes revenue and profit from the total calves born on a dairy, regardless of herd size. Along with greater milk production and reduced herd turnover, you can reduce the number of heifers you need to raise and feed as replacements. As feed costs for replacement animals are typically one-fourth of the total feed bill of a dairy, removing some of this expense can certainly help your bottom line.

Lactation Number

With today’s good reproduction and great calf raising skills, a dairy can easily produce sufficient replacements without using sexed semen on heifers. However, you should consider using sexed semen on the best genetics to create the pool of first lactation animals you will need. Selective use of sexed semen allows you to decide how many replacements best fit your future plans and housing situation. Interested in optimizing profit per stall? Wonder what the strategy for your dairy might be? NorthStar’s team of dairy records and reproductive analysts are equipped to help you; Give us a call to determine how many replacements you will need; which animals to breed with beef, dairy or sexed semen, and also which beef breed best fits your goals. See the complete article online at

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NorthStar News July/August 2018  

Delivered with DHI management reports.

NorthStar News July/August 2018  

Delivered with DHI management reports.