Dairy cow-culling decisions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Culling decisions are important to the financial success of a dairy farm. Annual culling rates for most dairies range from 25% to more than 35%. Although computerized record systems have improved the quality of dairy records, minimal progress has been achieved toward better analysis of the data. Profit, cash flow (CF), and risk must all be considered when determining which cows to cull. The distinction between fixed costs (FCs) and variable costs (VCs) must be made to analyze culling decisions properly. Based on economic principles, only pertinent VCs should be considered in the culling decision. Relevant opportunity costs of postponed replacement must also be considered, depending on the degree to which existing cow facilities are being utilized. Potential profits and related culling decisions are evaluated on the basis of future CFs in relation to milk production, reproduction, and udder health. Culling models that simulate future dairy cow performance demonstrate the potential differences in cow values, related seasonal effects, reproductive performance, and mastitis, even though mature-equivalent milk production predictions may be equal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1362-1371
Number of pages10
JournalCompendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • veterinary(all)


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