Most dairy farmers are not certain whether immediate insemination or delaying the insemination is the best economic decision for a cow in oestrus. A model was developed for determining, based on herd and cow characteristics, the economic consequences of immediate or delayed insemination. The model was based on literature information and expert knowledge. In the model, the oestrus detection and conception rates were made cow-specific. The utility of the model was illustrated using a standard cow and data on 90 cows in oestrus (provided by 10 Dutch dairy farmers). The model suggested that for the majority of cows, the best decision is to immediately inseminate the cow in oestrus, but for most heifers with a flatter lactation curve the best decision was to delay the insemination. The economic effect of delaying the insemination was however small, on average –€18 per cow per year. Immediate insemination of an individual cow did result in relatively low economic benefits, but for a whole herd they can be substantial. This model can be used by farmers to help making the best economic decision for a cow in oestrus.
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H. Hogeveen is also at the Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CL Utrecht, The Netherlands
Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed