Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment

A. Steinwidder and M. Greimel:

Economic valuation of longevity of dairy cows


The aim of the paper was to look at the influence of longevity and milk production level on profitability of dairy cows. Data from 311 Austrian Simmental cows which had finished production between 1975 and 1998 were grouped according to longevity (2, 3, ... 9, 10 lactation) and milk performance (average, best 10.000, 5.000, 1.000, 500 and 50 cows in each lactation group).

Increasing milk yield led to longer lactation and less born calves per year. Age at first calving was slightly higher for high yielding cows. Between lactation groups great differences were found for number of heifers per year necessary for replacement. Total costs per cow and year varied only slightly within lactation groups as well as performance classes.

In contrast to this, total returns were remarkably influenced by milk yield and returns from calves not necessary for replacement. Profit per cow and year as well as wage per hour increased linear which increasing milk yield and digressive with longevity Profit per farm increased digressive with increasing milk yield and longeviry. A remarkable increase of profit per farm was found by increasing longevity up to 6 lactations. Beyond 6 lactations the growth rate for profit per farm decreased up to 9 finished lactations.

Key words:  Longevity; dairy cows, profitability.