Which Dairy Breed is the Most Profitable?

Photo credit: Meaghan Thornhill, 2014

It’s an age-old question — which is the best dairy breed?

Like most farming questions, the answer is rarely a simple A or B and is more likely to be a qualified “it depends,” but Elliot Currie, with the University of Guelph, headed up a project recently to try and answer the question of which dairy breed is the most profitable (even if you do still have your favourites). The research does point to a most profitable breed, and Currie presented his findings at this year’s Canadian Dairy Xpo and lived to tell the tale!

In the interview below, Bern Tobin asks Currie what factors went in to determining profitability of each of seven breeds — Holstein, Jersey, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Canadian, Ayrshire, and Milking Shorthorn — and what costs and production assumptions were made in determining which breed was most efficient.

From investment in equipment, to average butterfat production, to vet bills and breeding costs, Currie says that the “winning” breed came out ahead by only 0.9%, measured as a return on investment (the money you get to keep).

So which was the winning breed? Watch the video to find out, and to hear about the development of a spreadsheet that will soon be available for farmers to run their own numbers, allowing them to see what mix of cow breeds will result in the best return on investment for their farm.

Don’t miss any of our Canadian Dairy Xpo Coverage — find it here!

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