Evaluate replacement and dry cow feed costs

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Feed costs for replacement and dry cows are usually calculated as $/day for each animal. This is useful to determine whether the nutrition and ration-balancing for these animals are appropriate, but a reasonable $/dry cow/day or $/heifer/day cost does not necessarily mean that feed costs for dry cows or feed costs for replacements are acceptable, says Bill Weiss, dairy nutritionist at Ohio State University. If your average $/dry cow/day is reasonable, but the average days dry is 90, you are spending too much feeding dry cows. The same is true if you are calving heifers at 27 months. Weiss suggests looking at both cost per individual animal (dry and heifer) and cost for the entire group.

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