FINANCIAL AND PERFORMANCE BENCHMARKS FOR THE HEIFER OPERATION, By Normand R. St-Pierre1 Department of Animal Sciences The Ohio State University



Financial and performance benchmarks ha ve had a positive effect overall in dairy

heifer production. Benchmarks, however are not without limitations and possible drawbacks. More specifically, benchmarks (1) tend to be static, (2) in duce a lemming effect in many industry segments, and (3) can be deceptive in that they ignore in ter-dependence between each-other. Some of the prevailing benchmarks in dairy heifer production ignore the cost of time and neglect the cost of dead animals. Feed cost benchmarks have naively used the cost of corn, soybean, and hay as exclusive “barom eter” feeds. A novel approach is suggested where unit costs of nutrients are derived from prices of all feed commodities traded in a given market. These nutrient unit costs are easily merged with nutrient requirements to calculate benchmark nutrient costs that are free of specific feed programs and reflect the effect of targeted animal performance on feed costs.

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