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Economic comparison of nutritional management strategies for Venezuelan dual-purpose cattle systems



Economic comparison of nutritional management strategies for Venezuelan dual-purpose cattle systems



Journal of Animal Science 72(7): 1680-1696



Objectives of this study were to compare three nutritional management strategies for dual-purpose herds in Venezuela in 1987 using a deterministic, multiperiod linear programming model of a representative farm. The model maximized discounted net margin (total revenues minus variable costs) from the herd for a 3-yr cow replacement cycle partitioned into six periods. The periods accounted for seasonal variation in forage availability and quality, and the model provided information about optimal animal inventories, animal sales, land in forage, and feed supplements. We compared current nutritional management practices and alternatives allowing optimal supplementation with commercial concentrate, molasses, cassava root, and urea. Iteration between the programming model and results from the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System assured technical coefficients consistent with predicted animal performance. Compared with management practices relying on commercial concentrate, optimal use of molasses and urea permitted increases in the stocking rate. Productivity and profit were restricted primarily by energy intake, which was constrained by intakes of NDF and DM. Alternative management strategies changed the relative importance of nutrient requirements and feed intake constraints. Thus, optimal interventions to alleviate nutritional constraints will vary with current management. Mobilizing adipose and protein tissues during lactation was optimal for most strategies. Supplementing with molasses and urea instead of commercial concentrate was the most profitable strategy, increasing herd net margin by 16% compared to the predominant feeding strategy in the late 1980s.

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Accession: 002351718

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PMID: 7928747



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