Make the most of marginal milk
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Make the most of marginal milk

December 09, 2016
POSTED BY: Ken Learmont | DVM | Dairy Technical Services | Zoetis

Keeping your cows in peak milk production helps improve income over feed cost (IOFC). As cows produce more milk and eat more, they convert feed to milk more efficiently.1 To increase income, you need to make the most of marginal milk. And this requires a solid reproduction program.

What is marginal milk?
Marginal milk is the milk produced after fixed costs are paid. Fixed costs include housing, labor, maintenance feed costs, financing, etc. The extra cost for this milk is the additional feed needed to help cows produce at a high level. Marginal milk is the most profitable milk produced on your dairy.

How do I improve marginal milk?
Managing cows for higher production requires a solid reproduction program. When cows spend more time in early lactation, they will produce more milk, have shorter calving intervals, more lactations to be in peak milk production and generate more replacement heifers.

How do I shorten calving intervals and keep cows in early lactations more often?
There are two keys to accomplishing these goals.

  1. Get more cows pregnant faster: Manage heat detection through the use of reproductive synchronization and fixed-time artificial insemination (AI) programs. Fixed-time AI helps ensure all cows in the herd are inseminated at or near the voluntary waiting period.
  2. Have fully engaged, well-trained employees: They are important to the success of timed AI programs. Employees can use these on-label tools to maximize the speed of achieving pregnant cows. Employees need to follow protocols correctly at all times for reproductive synchronization programs to work well.

Work with your veterinarian to implement a reproductive synchronization program that helps get cows bred sooner and keeps them in in peak milk. Visit to learn how FACTREL® Injection (gonadorelin injection) and LUTALYSE® Injection (dinoprost tromethamine injection) Sterile Solution or FACTREL and LUTALYSE® HighCon Injection (dinoprost tromethamine injection) work together to help dairies achieve reproductive success.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR FACTREL: FACTREL is for use in cattle only. See full Prescribing Information.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR LUTALYSE/LUTALYSE HIGHCON: Women of childbearing age and persons with respiratory problems should exercise extreme caution when handling LUTALYSE/LUTALYSE HighCon. LUTALYSE/LUTALYSE HighCon is readily absorbed through the skin and may cause abortion and/or bronchiospasms, therefore spillage on the skin should be washed off immediately with soap and water. Aseptic technique should be used to reduce the possibility of post-injection clostridial infections. Do not administer LUTALYSE/LUTALYSE HighCon in pregnant cattle unless cessation of pregnancy is desired. See full Prescribing Information for LUTALYSE. See full Prescribing Information for LUTALYSE HighCon.


1 Hutchison C. Diluting Maintenance Cost and Marginal Milk. Available at. Accessed October 17, 2014.



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