Our objectives were to develop an economic model to estimate the economic impact of twinning in dairy cows and to evaluate management strategies to mitigate the negative economic impact of twinning in dairy herds. A probabilistic tree considering spontaneous embryo reduction, early pregnancy loss, abortion, metritis, retained placenta, and culling rate at 120 d of the second, at the end of the second, and at the end of the third lactation was developed for a single pregnancy; we also developed 3 management options upon diagnosis of a twin pregnancy: (1) do nothing, (2) induce abortion using PGF2α, or (3) attempt manual embryo reduction. A value was given to each branch of the tree by simulating cow states on a farm for 1,400 d to encompass 4 consecutive lactations. The incomes considered in the simulations included milk income over feed cost, income from calves, and slaughter value upon culling. The expenses taken into account depending on each branch included additional inseminations and synchronization protocols, embryo reduction, induction of abortion, replacement heifers, and costs due to metritis and retained placenta. The gross value for a singleton pregnancy and the 3 management options upon diagnosis of a twin pregnancy were calculated by adding the value of all braches multiplied by their probability. The costs for the 3 management options were calculated by subtracting its gross value minus the gross value of a singleton pregnancy. The negative economic impact of a twin pregnancy ranged from $97 to $225 depending on the type of twin pregnancy (unilateral vs. bilateral), parity, and DIM when the twin pregnancy occurred. The overall negative economic impact of twinning on dairy farm profitability in the United States was estimated to be $96 million per year. Attempting manual embryo reduction early during gestation upon diagnosis of a twin pregnancy was the optimal management strategy for mitigating the negative economic impact of twinning under a wide variety of scenarios.
Keywords: economic modeling; reproductive management.
Copyright © 2018 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.