Milk production in a volatile global economy requires matching suitable genotypes within efficient regimes to deliver optimal and cost effective dairy farming systems. Here, we determine and describe differences in profitability between two genetic merits of Holstein Friesian cows managed within contrasting regimes. Physical performance of the genotypes within composite and housed systems is determined using data from a long term experiment based in Scotland, and economic analysis is carried out by application of Moorepark Dairy Systems Model simulations. Scenarios explore profitability differences between the management types when applied to a fixed herd size of 200 cows and a limited land availability of 80ha. Sensitivity analysis describes the economic effect of changes in both feed costs and milk price. Results illustrate benefits within each dairy system depending on available resources, and show considerable differences in inputs, outputs, costs and profitability of each of the management types. On average, animals of an improved genetic merit achieve 4p more profit for every litre produced than those average merit cows in a housed system, and 2p more within composite systems. Average genetic merit cows consuming a high forage diet plus grazing can be profitable however losses are made when this genotype is confined and fed high levels of concentrates. Systems which utilize high levels of imported concentrate feeds producing large milk volumes can be more vulnerable in circumstances where purchased feed costs are high and the milk price offered is low.
- Feed system
- Genetic merit