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Ratio of Milk Produced to Feed Cost Indicates Efficiency

Dairy Pipeline: July 1999

Charles C. Stallings
Extension Dairy Scientist, Nutrition
Virginia Tech
(540) 231-4758

Feed cost per hundred pounds of milk produced is an indicator of efficiency. One of the easiest and most readily available numbers to allow you to evaluate your efficiency of producing milk is to compare the cost of feeding relative to milk produced. For instance on the most recent DHI Virginia state summary the daily feed cost was $3.16 to produce an average of 64 pounds of milk. That means it would cost $4.94 to produce 100 pounds of milk. If you could produce the same 64 pounds of milk with a feed cost of only $2.50 the cost per 100 pounds would be only $3.91. On the other hand if feed cost was $3.50 it would translate to $5.47 per hundred. If it is costing more than $5.00 for you to produce 100 pounds of milk it may be worth trying to figure out why. If you have high feed cost and only average production this would indicate cows are not responding to more expensive nutrition and it might be possible to use more inexpensive feed sources without affecting milk produced. On the other hand if milk produced is relatively low without significant savings in feed inputs the feed cost per 100 pounds of milk produced will be excessively high. Some attention to improving production per cow might be advisable. Therefore, either excessive feed cost or low milk production can result in undesirable feed cost per 100 pounds of milk produced.

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