Marginal cost of the calving interval in beef cows is not uniform

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To understand the profitability of reproduction management measures, an economic assessment based on a beef cow life simulation was proposed. It accounted for the discounted feeding costs of the dam and its calves for the different periods of their lives up to their sale and for the overall production from calves adjusted by mortality and culling. The calibration was proposed for various combinations of typical French and European situations. The maximal cash flow was observed for the lowest calving interval, corresponding to the maximal number of calves produced. The marginal cost of the calving interval was not uniform: on average, it was twice as high at a calving interval of 360 days (€1/day) as at 500 days (€0.5/day). It was also higher when age at first calving was lower and when culling was late or the replacement rate was low. The results were sensitive to the costs of the calves’ diets and to the market prices for calves. These assessments may assist the evaluation of the profitability of various measures taken in the field when faced with deteriorating calving intervals in beef production.

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