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Program Helps Dairy Producers Evaluate Herd Reproduction
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 06/04/2010

There is a new tool available to help farmers assess their efficiencies in dairy cow reproduction. The University of Wisconsin's Dairy Repro$ is a decision support system that allows producers to calculate and compare the economic value of dairy reproductive programs to help them make the best economic decisions for their situations.

"An important part of milk production is the reproduction program that goes along with other management strategies a farmer uses when making production decisions," said Victor Cabrera, a UW-Extension dairy systems management specialist. "Many times dairy farmers struggle when they have to select the best reproductive management program because some of these programs may be able to maximize herd reproductive performance by improving service risk and breeding efficiency, but they do not know if the cost incurred with their application will offset the extra income generated by having better reproduction efficiency."

Farmers may have a good understanding of the reproductive efficiency of current and alternative programs, but they usually have a difficult time assessing the economic impact of these programs on their farms because of the complexity involved in the calculations. The UW-Dairy Repro$ makes these calculations easy and straight forward.

Cabrera notes that there are hundreds of variables a producer needs to look at when thinking about the economics of reproduction programs.

"More important than the costs though is the income that will come with a good reproductive program and how to take advantage of peak milk production by ensuring that cows get pregnant at the right time," he said.

Calculations are based on user-input information. The tool is completely customizable and flexible allowing the user to represent any potential farm scenario and reproductive program.

For more information about Dairy Repro$, call your local county Extension office.

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