Dairy operations have a variety of resources and objectives, such that the most economical method of obtaining replacement heifers is only determined by individual analysis of costs. The objective of this study was the development of a cost analysis spreadsheet and validation of that spreadsheet on milking and custom heifer operations throughout Pennsylvania. A cost analysis spreadsheet was developed with an Excel '97 Microsoft file. The spreadsheet estimated the costs to raise a replacement heifer by specific age classes for feed, labor, health, reproduction, bedding, facilities, equipment, mortality, and interest costs. The simplistic and broad-based nature of the spreadsheet was a key component in the spreadsheet's flexibility to estimate costs for a variety of operational objectives, feeding management, housing systems, and labor management. A convenience sample of 16 milking operations and 14 custom heifer operations was evaluated to validate the cost analysis spreadsheet. Results from the validation are discussed to highlight the success and performance of the cost analysis spreadsheet. The average total cost to raise a replacement heifer for this data set was $1124.06 and $1019.20 for milking and custom heifer operations, respectively. Feed costs contributed 60.3 and 64.0% of the average total cost for milking and custom heifer operations, respectively. While no two operations are alike, individual operations possessing the ability to address costs to raise a replacement heifer can utilize critical information that can be used to improve operation profitability.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology