Background: As farmers do not often keep a record of the expenditures for rearing, an economic tool that provides insight into the cost of rearing is useful. In the Netherlands, an economic tool (Jonkos) has been developed that can be used by farmers to obtain insight into the cost of rearing on their farm. The first objective of this study is to calculate the total cost of rearing young stock in Dutch dairy herds using Jonkos. The second objective is to compare the calculated total cost of rearing with the farmers' own estimation of the cost of rearing (the perceived cost). Findings: Information was available for 75 herds that reared their own young stock and who had used the Jonkos tool. The perceived cost of rearing young stock was only available for 36 herds. In the 75 herds, the average herd size was 100 dairy cows. The average calculated total cost of rearing a heifer was €1,790. The average perceived total cost of rearing a heifer (including labour and housing costs) was €1,030. Conclusion: Most Dutch farmers in the study underestimated the total cost of rearing. The Jonkos economic tool has the advantage that herd-specific information can be entered as input values. The output of the tool can improve the awareness of farmers about the total costs of rearing. This awareness can lead to a higher priority of young stock rearing and consequently to an improved quality of young stock rearing.
- Young stock