In a study of 51 dairy and dual-purpose herds in 1935 and ] 936 it was found that the average value per head of the milk cows was $66 in the high producing dairy herds, compared to $49 in the low producing ones; while investment in buildings and fences was $120 per cow in the high as compared to $90 in the low producing herds. Investment per pound of butterfat produced, however , was lower with the higher producing and more valuable cows.
The cows in the higher producing herds were fed more heavily and received better balanced rations; the total amount of concentrates amounting to approximately 2,300 pounds in the high and 1,200 in the low producing herds, while total value of all feeds plus pasture amounted to $72, compared to $50. When expressed per pound of butterfat, however, the values of feed and pasture were but little different between the high and low producing herds. In fact, the advantage was slightly with the high producing herds.
There was a wide variation in amount of feed fed per cow, which was only partly related to the production per cow. The cows receiving the most feed generally produced more butterfat but not necessarily in proportion to the difference in amount of feed. Consequently, the cows receiving the most feed did not give the highest return per $100 of feed fed.
Buck, R. K.; Hopkins, J. A.; and Malone, C. C.
"An economic study of the dairy enterprise in northeastern Iowa,"
Research Bulletin (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station): Vol. 24
, Article 1.
Available at: https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/researchbulletin/vol24/iss278/1