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Web Tool: Predict profitability with UWCU-Repro$ tool

Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen Published on 07 February 2014

How could adding activity monitors, changing synchronization protocols, or improving heat detection affect your dairy’s bottom line? Find out with the UWCU-Repro$ tool.

As indicated by its name, this simulation program was developed in partnership with dairy management teams at the University of Wisconsin and Cornell University.



Simply download and install the free program to a computer, input herd-specific information and run the desired scenario. For example, determine if switching from a Presynch-Ovsynch to Double-Ovsynch protocol would result in a profit. View and compare the current program to the projection in a side-by-side analysis.

The masterminds behind this revolutionary dairy decision-making tool are UW’s Dr. Victor Cabrera and Cornell’s Dr. Julio Giordano, with programming assistance from Afshin Kalantari, Ph.D. student under Cabrera.

PD caught up with Cabrera and Giordano to explain more details of UWCU-Repro$.

Q: What is the web address for this tool?

Q: Why was it developed?
CABRERA/GIORDANO: The UWCU-Repro$ tool was developed to facilitate the process of selecting the most profitable reproductive management program for an individual dairy farm. Thus, the tool uses multiple input parameters to describe the specific conditions of the farm of interest.


UWCU-Repro$ calculates simultaneously the expected profitability of the current management approach and compares it to an alternative management strategy of interest to the farmer.

Also, it can be used to project some general profitability trends applicable to multiple farms, such as the following: the impact of adopting different synchronization of ovulation protocols; the effect of increased conception risk due to improved estrus detection accuracy; or the effectiveness of adding an activity monitoring system to perform detection of estrus.

Q: Who should use it?
CABRERA/GIORDANO: This tool can be used by dairy industry consultants, extension agents, veterinarians, producers or anybody involved in decision-making on the farm of interest.

Q: Is there a cost to use it?
CABRERA/GIORDANO: The tool is available for free to all potential users on the University of Wisconsin and Cornell University Dairy Management web pages. Specific instructions for the tool are provided to facilitate its use. Technical support on its use from university experts is also available upon request.

Q: What are some unique features?
: Unique features of the UWCU-Repro$ tool include its flexibility and breadth of parameters considered in the herd performance and economic evaluation. For example, the tool is capable of evaluating programs that rely purely on detection of estrus, timed artificial insemination (TAI), and, more importantly, combinations of both strategies.

In all cases, the simulations include all the costs incurred with the execution of the reproductive programs while accounting for the most important sources of revenue associated with herd reproductive performance.


Q: How does it work?
CABRERA/GIORDANO: UWCU-DairyRepro$ is user-friendly tool developed using a combination of complex and simple modeling techniques. The model simulates and projects the structure of a dairy herd using herd performance parameters specific to the reproductive management programs being compared.

On a daily basis, the model simulates all cows in a herd to calculate the herd dynamics and estimates the net return per cow as a measure of profitability. The tool was developed as a standalone executable program with Visual Basic.Net 2010 (Microsoft Corp., Seattle, WA).

Input parameters including productive, economic, and reproductive variables are defined by the user to describe the current scenario and to compare it to an alternative strategy. Then, the model, after running thousands of iterations, finds the solution and provides a set of results.

The most relevant parameters provided by these results are the expected change in net return per cow and per herd if the farm decides to switch to the alternative program. In addition, the tool offers a breakdown of the main factors contributing to the net return (i.e., IOFC, replacement costs, repro program costs, and calf value), replacement dynamics, reproductive performance, and herd structure.

Q: Why is this important to understand and utilize?
CABRERA/GIORDANO: UWCU-Repro$ is useful to dairy farms because it helps make informed economic decisions at the time of selecting reproductive management programs. This tool offers a unique opportunity to assess beforehand the profitability implications of adopting new reproductive management strategies on dairy farms.

In combination with knowledge of the current and expected reproductive performance at the farm and common wisdom about reproductive management, it is a powerful tool to assist dairy producers and consultants in their decision-making process. PD


Peggy Coffeen
Progressive Dairyman

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