Cow Margins - Simulation Details

NSERC and DairyGen funded study (started 2005). To study cow profitability, with the aim of determining the relative contributions of various genetic traits to overall cow profitability. More precisely in economic terms, the margins (per cow) of income minus costs were to be examined, on a cow basis. Only the costs and incomes associated with cow related traits were considered. Relative values are held constant through one simulation over a 40 year horizon.

The simulation program considers 220 genetically controlled traits. Much effort was spent obtaining values for this matrix and for the residual (or phenotypic) covariance matrix. The validity of the simulations can always be questioned because of the parameters that were used, and the costs that were assumed. However, the simulation programs could provide some educational benefit for the industry or undergraduate students. Over time, new parameters may become available. This site contains the descriptions of the processes used in the simulation programs.

Validation of the program is absolutely necessary. The importance of varying genetic correlations, costs of various expense and income items, and the effect of herd size will be studied. Finally, a study of health traits and their relative importance to cow margins will be undertaken.