Economic Analysis of Offering Different Herbage Allowances to Dairy Cows Fed a Partial Mixed Ration
Agriculture Victoria, 5 Ring Road, Bundoora VIC 3083, Australia
Agriculture Victoria, 1301 Hazeldean Road, Ellinbank VIC 3821, Australia
Centre for Agricultural Innovation, The University of Melbourne, Parkville VIC 3010, Australia
Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville VIC 3010, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Cameron Clark, Sergio C. Garcia, Rafiq Islam and Sabrina Lomax
Received: 23 April 2021 / Revised: 28 May 2021 / Accepted: 4 June 2021 / Published: 7 June 2021
In south-eastern Australia, most dairy cows consume grazed pasture, cereal grain fed in the dairy and hay in the paddock. Previous research has shown that feeding supplements to grazing cows as a well-formulated mixed ration can increase feed intake, milk production and profit. This previous work was conducted under a limited herbage allowance to represent the conditions of drought or a high stocking rate. Two subsequent animal experiments were performed, one in early lactation and the other in late lactation, where the herbage allowance was varied from low to high and used to investigate the economics of partial mixed ration (PMR) feeding. We found that offering a medium allowance (25 and 20 kg DM/cow per day in early and late lactation, respectively) resulted in higher profit (total milk income minus feed costs) than a low herbage allowance (15 and 12 kg DM/cow per day in early and late lactation). No additional profit was obtained by further increasing the herbage allowance from medium to high (40 and 32 kg DM/cow per day in early and late lactation). These findings will assist farmers to manage their PMR systems in a profitable way.