The Effect of Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin on Patterns of Milk Production, Lactational Milk Estimates and Net Farm Income
Bovine somatoropin (bST) alters total milk production and production patterns in dairy cows and understanding the economic benefits of bST for the dairy producer are critical. Holstein cows (n = 555) from four Michigan dairy farms were randomly assigned as untreated controls or to receive 500 mg of bovine somatotropin (PosilacR) administered every 14 days beginning at 63 to 69 days of lactation and continuing until approximately 21 days prior to the end of lactation or until the animal was removed from the herd. Average peak milk production was 50.8 kg / day and occurred at an average of 113 9 days of lactation for bST-treated cows while average peak production was 48.9 kg / day occurring at an average of 86.4 days of lactation for control cows; both parameters were significantly greater for bST-treated cows compared to controls. Study cows treated with bST were significantly more persistent in lactation (7% greater lactational persistency) compared to control cows. All DHIA estimates and actual milk produced were not significantly different between the study treatment groups for any of the four comparisons made (first, second, third monthly tests after bST treatment initiation and final (305-day) DHIA production estimates); however, the accuracy of DHIA production estimates was significantly affect by the amount of time elapsed since bST but became non-significant by the third DHIA test date. The use of bST changed NFI for each of the four study farms by $96.21, $3.57, $78.71 and ($7.15) per bST-treated cow, respectively during the trial period (from 63 to 305 days of lactation). The overall average change in NFI attributable to bST was $43.01 per bST-treated cow. 2 Profitability of bST use was observed to be quite variable between farms studied because many factors were found to affect the change in NFI per cow resulting from bST use; the level of production response and the price received for milk had the largest effects on the change in NFI associated with bST use; by contrast, price paid for bST itself and feed had only minimal effects on bST-associated profitability. Diseases that may be associated with bST may reduce the profitability of this product and need to be considered as a cost of bST use if present.
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