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Dairy Management - Dairy Expansion Decision Support System (DE-DSS)

Dairy Expansion Decision Support System (DE-DSS)

V.E. Cabrera, UW-Madison Dairy Science

Tool Overview

The Dairy Expansion decision support too is designed to explore projections of dairy farm production and expansion scenarios and simulate specific metrics of their performances. Thus, it provides critical information dairy producers need to actively manage risk on their dairies.

The DE-DSS forecasts a monthly projection of the cash flow ($ value) aggregated from all animals in the herd in response to factors such as lactation, month after calving, and month in pregnancy according to an expected milk production, feed intake, and labor requirements. The tool offers the possibility to manage scenarios of expansion either by “growing from within” with their own raised heifers or by buying extra heifers in the market. Users have also the possibility to schedule sales of heifers reared on farm and make additional investments with the use of bank loans.

The tool predicts heifer growth over time and the cow movement and dynamics showing forecast changes in herd structures for calves, heifers, and cows. The initial condition for the herd can be taken from a fixed number of adult animals or be entered directly by the user, who can download a template spreadsheet to later upload the information related to every single cow in the herd including: cow identification, lactation, and days in milk. Similarly, in the same template, the user can enter the information about every single heifer including: heifer identification, and age.

The accuracy of the forecast is highly dependent upon the quality of the data entered by the user. The tool incorporate over 32 input variables from various aspects of the dairy that can be easily edited in the “Forecast Inputs” and “Herd Structure Simulation” tabs. Results are displayed as figures and can be download in a spreadsheet.


"Herd Projected at" must be bigger than zero. Please go to the "Herd Structure Simulation" Tab and change this value. Cash Flow plots would be available after this.


From Steady State

Heifers --> Cows

Enter Your Individual Cow/Herd Data

Download Parameter Excel File

Upload Parameters as Excel File

Note: According to your parameters above there should not be Heifers older than 24 months neither Cows older than 13 Months in Milk (MIM).

≤ 2 months old
3 to 6 months old
≥ 7 months non pregnant
Cows 1st 2nd 3rd Later All
Pregnant Milking

Disclaimer: The authors and their respective institutions shall not be held responsible or liable for any decisions made or actions taken as a result of using the HSS Model.

Milk Production Data

Feed Intake Inputs

Feed Cost Inputs

Labor Cost Inputs

Loan Ammortization Inputs

Raised Replacement Calves and Heifers, $/Day

Cull Cow Income

Miscellaneous Expenses

Springer Value Purchased/Sold

Month,                      Springers Purchased
Month,                      Springers Sold