The effect of cow longevity on dynamic productivity growth of dairy farming

Beshir M. Ali*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Cow longevity is recognized as an important trait to improve farm economic performance while concurrently reducing environmental and social impacts. However, there is an economic trade-off between longevity and herd genetic improvement, which may influence the dairy farms’ efficiency and productivity growth over time. This study used a panel data of 723 Dutch specialized dairy farms over 2007-2013 to empirically measure the effect of longevity on dynamic productivity change and its components. First, the productivity growth estimates were obtained using the Luenberger dynamic productivity indicator. Then, the estimates were regressed on longevity and other explanatory variables using dynamic panel data model. Results show that the average dynamic productivity growth was 1.1% per year, comprising of technical change (0.5%), scale inefficiency change (0.4%) and technical inefficiency change (0.2%). Longevity is found to have a statistically significant positive association with productivity growth and technical change, implying that farms with more matured cows were also those farms that recorded increased productivity through technical progress. However, it has a negative association with technical inefficiency change, which might follow from the reduced milk productivity of old cows per unit of inputs used. Dutch dairy farms have a potential to raise productivity growth by reducing technical inefficiencies associated with input utilization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104582
JournalLivestock Science
Early online date11 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Cow longevity
  • Dairy farming
  • Productivity growth
  • Technical inefficiency


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