Optimizing the herd calving pattern with linear programming and dynamic probabilistic simulation.

A.W. Jalvingh, A.A. Dijkhuizen, J.A.M. van Arendonk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Until recently, little attention has been paid to the influence of seasonal variation in performance and prices on the optimal calving pattern of a herd. A method was developed to determine the herd calving pattern that is farm-specific and optimal with use of linear programming. The required technical and economic parameters are calculated with a dynamic probabilistic simulation model of the dairy herd. The approach was illustrated with a situation in which the objective was to maximize the gross margin of the herd and the annual milk production of the herd was restricted, resulting in an optimal calving pattern: all heifers calved during August. When, in addition, only home-reared replacement heifers were allowed to enter the herd, heifer calvings took place from July to October. The gross margin was reduced by only Dfl. .13/100 kg of milk ($1 US = 1.80 Dfl.) as a result of the additional constraint. The sensitivity of the optimal calving pattern of herd was determined for lower reproductive performance and when seasonal price variation was ignored. The method described herein is a flexible tool for determining the optimal calving pattern of herd, taking into account farm-specific inputs and constraints.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1719-1730
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Publication statusPublished - 1994


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