Dairy experts have estimated that it takes a dairy cow between one and two lactations to fully pay back the cost needed to raise the animal. An animal’s economic return becomes more clear and spurs many operations to retain older cows. Cows in at least their third lactation also produce more milk and no longer need the nutritional growing requirements their younger counterparts require.

A low herd turnover rate also means a lesser need to raise heifers, substantially reducing operating costs (and the farm’s environmental footprint). A more mature herd can capitalize on production efficiency, particularly during times when input costs skyrocket and forage resources are becoming increasingly tougher to come by.

Read more on maximizing herd returns here.