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      Economic value of pregnancy in dairy cattle.

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      Journal of dairy science

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          Abstract

          The objective of this study was to estimate the value of pregnancy for dairy cows. Effects of the stage of gestation, stage of lactation, lactation number, milk yield, milk price, replacement heifer cost, probability of pregnancy, probability of involuntary culling, and breeding decisions were studied. A bioeconomic model was used, and breeding and replacement decisions were optimized. A general Holstein herd in the United States was modeled. The average value of a new pregnancy was $278. The value of a new pregnancy increased with days in milk early in lactation but typically decreased later in lactation. Relatively high-producing cows and first-lactation cows reached greater values, and their values peaked later in lactation. The average cost of a pregnancy loss (abortion) was $555. The cost of a pregnancy loss typically increased with gestation length. Sensitivity analyses showed that an increased probability of pregnancy, an increased persistency of milk yield, and a smaller replacement heifer cost greatly reduced the average value of a pregnancy. The value of a new pregnancy was negative for relatively high-producing first-lactation cows when persistency of lactation and the probability of pregnancy were increased. Breeding was delayed when the value of pregnancy was negative. Changes in milk price, absolute milk yield, and probability of involuntary culling had less effect on the value of pregnancy. The value of pregnancy and optimal breeding decisions for individual cows were greatly dependent on the predicted daily milk yield for the remaining period of lactation. An improved understanding of the value of pregnancy may support decision making in reproductive management when resources are limited.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          J. Dairy Sci.
          Journal of dairy science
          1525-3198
          0022-0302
          Oct 2006
          : 89
          : 10
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA. devries@ufl.edu
          Article
          S0022-0302(06)72430-4
          10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(06)72430-4
          16960063
          429c01ce-1be2-41d0-a2a1-6c981ab8ff8c
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