Proceedings

Searching For Productivity Gains Through ‘once-a-day’ Milking On New Zealand’s Pastoral Dairy Farms

Cows that are milked once-a-day (OAD) produce less milk than when milked twice-a-day(TAD). However, these cows also require less feed because of their lower milk production.Hence stocking rates can be increased. New Zealand evidence shows that the benefits fromOAD milking can include per cow savings in animal health, labour and electricity costs, plusimproved pregnancy rates. A linear programming model was used to evaluate the whole farmimpact of these changes. This showed that OAD milking is likely to reduce profitability. Thiswas based on recent New Zealand research showing an average per cow production decreaseof 29% for Friesian cows and 20% for Jersey cows. However, given that some cows can performunder OAD at a similar level to TAD, it is likely that selective breeding will eventuallylead to per-cow losses of production that are much less than this. If per cow production lossesunder OAD milking can be reduced to about 10%, then this will allow cow numbers to be increasedby about 6% and will provide a similar whole farm profit as under TAD. There wouldalso be lifestyle advantages for farmers. If per cow production losses could be eliminated, thenthe farm working expenses under OAD on a typical New Zealand dairy farm would be reducedby about 6.5%.

Keywords: Once-a day milking, milk harvesting, linear programming, pastoral dairy farming.

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Author(s): Guimaraes, F.B., Woodford, K.

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Organizations(s): Lincoln University, Christchurch