Economic evaluation of information technology applications on dairy farms

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


<p>The research described in this thesis focused on the economic evaluation of information technology (IT) applications on dairy farms in order to support investment decisions. The evaluation included a normative (deductive) approach and an empirical (positive) approach. The normative approach predicted potential benefits from a theoretical model of the investment, and investigated how farmers should deal with the applications. The empirical approach observed the actual effects of the investment (realised benefits) and investigated how farmers did deal. Applications were adopted on Dutch dairy farms and were directed towards improvement of management on an individual cow basis.</p><p>The research was focused on automated concentrate feeding systems, sensors that measure daily physical activity of cows and on-line automated parlour systems for recording of milk production, milk temperature and electrical conductivity of quarter milk. Results obtained from the normative and empirical approach showed that investments in automated concentrate feeders were profitable for a typical Dutch dairy farm. A simultaneous investment in activity measurement was profitable if the level of visual oestrus detection was average. The possible dichotomy between potential and realised benefits of IT applications was examined and discussed. This was focused towards the processes of concentrate feeding, oestrus detection and mastitis detection.</p><p>In general, similar results were obtained for an application that automated and improved a physical process. However, potential benefits obtained from the normative analysis were more profound than realised benefits obtained from the empirical analysis. This was particularly the case for applications that were heavily depending on time and management skills of the farmer. The methods described were general of nature and could also be used for other applications and species.</p>
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Dijkhuizen, A.A., Promotor, External person
  • Beulens, Adrie, Promotor
  • Huirne, R.B.M., Promotor, External person
Award date5 Feb 1999
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789058080066
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • dairy farming
  • dairy farms
  • farm management
  • simulation models
  • information technology
  • economic evaluation
  • netherlands

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