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Part 6 | rbST: Friend or Foe?

Over the past five articles in this series, we have covered how Lactatropin is used, how it works, and some of the more frequently asked questions. However, even though the topics covered are important, we should also bear in mind that using Lactatropin offers a financial benefit; it increases a cow’s milk production and feed intake, making the return on investment worthwhile.


When injected at peak yield, Lactatropin maintains the milk yield at a higher persistency, thus producing more milk over the entire lactation. On average, treated cows produce 4,5 kg milk per day more than untreated cows, which equals ± 1 000 kg milk over the entire lactation. However, this increased milk yield is dependent on the quality of the overall management programme, such as feed management, milking practices, and environmental conditions, as discussed in previous articles.


MANAGED THE SAME WAY

In addition, rbST-treated cows should be managed in the same way as untreated cows that are already high-yield producers. For example, a cow producing 20 liters of milk and being injected with Lactatropin should be managed the same way as an untreated cow that produces 30 liters of milk. Cows treated with rbST require extra feed to sustain a higher milk production. For every liter of increased milk yield, a cow will require an additional 200 to 300 g of feed (numbers based on averages and production). It is best to consult your nutritionist for advice on your individual circumstances.


The table below provides an example calculation of the benefits of Lactatropin.

INCOME

PASTURE HERD

Milk price per liter of milk

R6.20

Increased production x cow

3 liters

Additional production due to Lactatropin use

Additional daily income

R18.60

COSTS

Cost of Lactatropin per cow per day

R6.86

Cost of feed per kg DM per day

R2.50

Additional daily consumption

1.2 kg

Additional feed cost

R3.00

Total daily expenses

R9.86

PROFIT

Profit per cow per day

R8.74

After additional feed and injection costs paid

Number of lactating cows: 400

Earning opportunity of the farm per month: R78 685.71

Earning opportunity of the farm per annum: R944 228.57


RETURN ON INVESTMENT (gain on invested capital): 89%

INCOME

TOTAL MIXED RATION HERD

Milk price per liter of milk

R6.20

Increased production x cow

4 liters

Additional production due to Lactatropin use

Additional daily income

R24.80

COSTS

Cost of Lactatropin per cow per day

R6.86

Cost of feed per kg DM per day

R4.00

Additional daily consumption

1.6 kg

Additional feed cost

R6.40

Total daily expenses

R13.26

PROFIT

Profit per cow per day

R11.54

After additional feed and injection costs paid

Number of lactating cows: 500

Earning opportunity of the farm per month: R129 857.14

Earning opportunity of the farm per annum: R1 558 285.71


RETURN ON INVESTMENT (gain on invested capital): 87%

The above is an illustrative herd. For specific calculations for your farm, please contact your nearest Lionel's Vet representative.


SUMMARY

South African farmers will benefit greatly when considering technology such as Lactatropin to improve their production and increase their profit margins, especially in times where input costs keep rising. By optimising each cow’s efficiency, herd Sustainability can increase while the carbon footprint decreases. Therefore, you have two options when deciding how to use Lactatropin:

  1. Maintain the number of animals and increase the herd’s total production.

  2. Maintain the herd’s total production and decrease the number of animals in the herd.

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