Document Detail

A simple formulation and solution to the replacement problem: A practical tool to assess the economic cow value, the value of a new pregnancy, and the cost of a pregnancy loss.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22818482     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
This study contributes to the research literature by providing a new formulation for the cow replacement problem, and it also contributes to the Extension deliverables by providing a user-friendly decision support system tool that would more likely be adopted and applied for practical decision making. The cow value, its related values of a new pregnancy and a pregnancy loss, and their associated replacement policies determine profitability in dairy farming. One objective of this study was to present a simple, interactive, dynamic, and robust formulation of the cow value and the replacement problem, including expectancy of the future production of the cow and the genetic gain of the replacement. The proven hypothesis of this study was that all the above requirements could be achieved by using a Markov chain algorithm. The Markov chain model allowed (1) calculation of a forward expected value of a studied cow and its replacement; (2) use of a single model (the Markov chain) to calculate both the replacement policies and the herd statistics; (3) use of a predefined, preestablished farm reproductive replacement policy; (4) inclusion of a farmer's assessment of the expected future performance of a cow; (5) inclusion of a farmer's assessment of genetic gain with a replacement; and (6) use of a simple spreadsheet or an online system to implement the decision support system. Results clearly demonstrated that the decision policies found with the Markov chain model were consistent with more complex dynamic programming models. The final user-friendly decision support tool is available at → Tools → The Economic Value of a Dairy Cow. This tool calculates the cow value instantaneously and is highly interactive, dynamic, and robust. When a Wisconsin dairy farm was studied using the model, the solution policy called for replacing nonpregnant cows 11 mo after calving or months in milk (MIM) if in the first lactation and 9 MIM if in later lactations. The cow value for an average second-lactation cow was as follows: (1) when nonpregnant, (a) $897 in MIM = 1 and (b) $68 in MIM = 8; (2) when the cow just became pregnant,(a) $889 for a pregnancy in MIM = 3 and (b) $298 for a pregnancy in MIM = 8; and (3) the value of a pregnancy loss when a cow became pregnant in MIM = 5 was (a) $221 when the loss was in the first month of pregnancy and (b) $897 when the loss was in the ninth month of pregnancy. The cow value indicated pregnant cows should be kept. The expected future production of a cow with respect to a similar average cow was an important determinant in the cow replacement decision. The expected production in the rest of the lactation was more important for nonpregnant cows, and the expected production in successive lactations was more important for pregnant cows. A 120% expected milk production for a cow with MIM = 16 and 6 mo pregnant in the present lactation or in successive lactations determined between 1.52 and 6.48 times the cow value, respectively, of an average production cow. The cow value decreased by $211 for every 1 percentage point of expected genetic gain of the replacement. A break-even analysis of the cow value with respect to expected milk production of an average second-parity cow indicated that (1) nonpregnant cows in MIM = 1 and 8 could still remain in the herd if they produced at least 84 and 98% in the present lactation or if they produced at least 78 and 97% in future lactations, respectively; and (2) cows becoming pregnant in MIM = 5 would require at least 64% of milk production in the rest of the lactation or 93% in successive lactations to remain in the herd.
V E Cabrera
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of dairy science     Volume:  95     ISSN:  1525-3198     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Dairy Sci.     Publication Date:  2012 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-07-23     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2985126R     Medline TA:  J Dairy Sci     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  4683-98     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Department of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.
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