Submitted to: Western Dairy Management Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/28/2002
Publication Date: 3/12/2003
Citation: LOOPER, M.L., ROGERS, C.A., FITZGERALD, A.C. 2003. MARKETING COWS FOR INCREASED PROFITABILITY. Western Dairy Management Conference. p. 43-50.
Interpretive Summary: Dairy producers are also beef producers. The prudent use of antibiotics on dairy farms is of utmost importance in safeguarding the integrity of the dairy industry. Profit of the dairy operation may be increased and the possibility of antibiotic residue violations could be reduced with additional feeding of market dairy cows. Health of market cows is crucial in optimizing feed efficiency. This information is of interest to dairy producers, extension personnel, and agricultural professionals who advise dairy producers on dairy management practices.
Technical Abstract: Substantial quantities of quality milk are the primary concern of dairy producers; however, approximately 33% of beef production in the U.S is from market dairy cows. Dairy cows are the class of cattle with the greatest violation of antibiotic residues. Additional feeding of market cows can increase body condition score, carcass value, and potentially reduce the incidence of antibiotic residue violation. Seasonality is an important aspect of increasing profitability when selling market cows. Prices generally are lowest during November while the highest prices received are during March, April, and May. Our research suggests feeding market cows can increase body condition, average daily gain, and decrease condemnation, but may not significantly influence carcass characteristics. Furthermore, antibiotic-treated market cows may exceed recommended meat withdrawal times and cause antibiotic residue violation at processing. Health and the ability to gain weight are extremely variable in market cows; therefore, not all market cows are suitable for additional feeding protocols. Dairy producers should evaluate individual market cows and consider management strategies, such as additional feeding, to decrease the incidence of carcass condemnation and antibiotic residues in meat tissues.