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Exploratory study on the economic value of a closed farming system on Dutch dairy farms
  1. G. van Schaik, MscAgric1,
  2. A. A. Dijkhuizen, MscAgric, PhD1,
  3. G. Benedictus, DVM, PhD2,
  4. H. W. Barkema, DVM2 and
  5. J. L. Koole, MscAgric3
  1. 1 Department of Economics and Management, Wageningen Agricultural University (WAU), Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Animal Health Service, PO Box 361, 9200 AJ Drachten, The Netherlands
  3. 3 National Reference Centre for Livestock Production, PO Box 482 6710 BL Ede, The Netherlands


A closed farming system may prevent the introduction of infectious diseases on to dairy farms and could be a good starting point for the eradication of these diseases. In order to introduce a closed farming system, farmers need to be made aware of how these diseases are introduced into the herd. Farmers will be more likely to implement a closed farming system when the economic value is quantified and attractive. An exploratory study was carried out to investigate the technical and economic results of closed dairy farms. Farms that purchased cattle and/or shared pasture (dermed as ‘open’ farms) differed in technical results from farms that did not (‘closed’ farms). The results of the discriminant analysis showed that the ‘closed’ farms incurred lower costs for veterinary services, had a lower average age at first calving and a higher birth rate per 100 dairy cows. A linear regression analysis was carried out to investigate the influence of the farming system on economic performance. Being ‘closed’ was found to increase the net profit by £0.31 per 100 kg of milk, or approximately £25 per cow per year or 5 per cent of the typical net return to labour and management (£1 = Dfl 2.80 in November 1996).

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