Presentations & Papers

Which are the critical dairy business performance characteristics that will provide profitability and sustainability for the next 5-10 years

Presentation to Dairy Seminar – KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, October 2019

By David Beca

Seminar theme: “If increasing pasture harvest has been the key strategy to improvements in profitability over the last 15-20 years, what will be the key strategy for the next 10 years?”


This presentation covers the following areas:


This presentation is based on the full statistical analysis of 2 substantial datasets:

  1. 207 Australian dairy farms from a unique unbiased dataset of a single year; and
  2. 305 South African dairy farm datasets across 5 years from 2014/15 to 2018/19.

Over 140 relationships were statistically reviewed to determine what underpins profitability in these two countries, as well as where there may be differences between the countries. The presentation included information on 69 important relationships that directly relate to dairy farm performance and profitability.

Some of the most important relationships that were reviewed included cost of production, milk production per cow and per hectare, pasture harvest, stocking rate, cost of pasture, pasture as percent of diet, cost of supplements per litre, cost of total feed (supplements & pasture) per litre, cost of concentrate per ton, cost of forages/silages per ton dry matter, core per cow cost, core per hectare cost per ton dry matter of pasture, labour cost per cow and per litre, total expenses per litre…and many more.

The presentation then looks at which key ratios are significantly impacted by changes in 1) pasture harvest, 2) milk production per cow, and 3) pasture as a percentage of the cow’s diet. This then provides the basis for concluding what the impact will be of changing production system (defined as increasing or decreasing the percentage of pasture in the diet), as well as how dairy farmers can substantially reduce their cost of production to develop more profitable and sustainable businesses.

To view a selection of slides from the presentation in English/US number format please click here.

To view a selection of slides from the presentation in South African/Spanish number format please click here.

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