Dairy Cow Culling Strategies: Making Economical Culling Decisions

Terry W Lehenbauer, James W. Oltjen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The purpose of this report was to examine important economic elements of culling decisions, to review progress in development of culling decision support systems, and to discern some of the potentially rewarding areas for future research on culling models. Culling decisions have an important influence on the economic performance of the dairy but are often made in a nonprogrammed fashion and based partly on the intuition of the decision maker. The computer technology that is available for dairy herd management has made feasible the use of economic models to support culling decisions. Financial components -including profit, cash flow, and risk - are major economic factors affecting culling decisions. Culling strategies are further influenced by short-term fluctuations in cow numbers as well as by planned herd expansion. Changes in herd size affect the opportunity cost for postponed replacement and may alter the relevance of optimization strategies that assume a fixed herd size. Improvements in model components related to biological factors affecting future cow performance, including milk production, reproductive status, and mastitis, appear to offer the greatest economic potential for enhancing culling decision support systems. The ultimate value of any culling decision support system for developing economic culling strategies will be determined by its results under field conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-271
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Culling
  • Dairy
  • Decision support system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Science
  • veterinary(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Dairy Cow Culling Strategies: Making Economical Culling Decisions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this