SHORT COMMUNICATION: Evaluating feed cost, income over feed cost, and the cost of production for milk and crops on 4 case study farms that double cropped winter annual silage and corn silage for 2 years in northern and western Pennsylvania

E. J. Ranck, L. A. Holden, K. J. Soder

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Abstract

Double cropping is used to reduce environmental impacts, increase total farm forage yields, and reduce feed costs. Whereas double cropping is common in areas with longer growing seasons, it is not common in areas with shorter growing seasons. This study evaluated the cost to produce milk and crops on 4 dairy farms in northern and western Pennsylvania, a region where double cropping is not common due to the shorter growing season relative to other parts of the state where double cropping is more common. Production and financial data were collected during farm visits. Cost of production (COP) per hundredweight (45.36 kg) of energy-corrected milk and per DM tonne of crops raised was calculated. Herd size averaged 292 cows, and farm size averaged 319 ha, with 14.1% of hectares double cropped during 2016 and 2017. Yields of winter annual silage averaged 3.7 and 3.2 t/ha for 2016 and 2017, respectively. The COP for energy-corrected milk ranged from $13.06 to $26.00/hundredweight across all farms during both years. The COP for winter annual silage ranged from $138 for one farm in 2016 to $322/t for another farm during 2017, with an average across farms and years of $252.59/t compared with an average purchased price of $210/t of winter annual silage. Overall, the COP of winter annual silage was greater than the purchase price of winter annual silage for 3 of the 4 farms in the study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-82
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Animal Science
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2019

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Science

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