Optimal Dairy Systems - key performance indicators

To help improve your competitiveness, we have created a clear set of measures and targets so you can benchmark your performance and identify areas for improvement.

The measures are broken down into two areas:

  • Enterprise key performance indicators which highlight the six key areas for both all year round (AYR) and block calving systems which are crucial to delivering the financial performance required
  • Three key business measures that every business should know, understand and benchmark their performance against.

The measures can be found in the tables below and show what excellent, good and average operators are currently achieving using Dairy industry data from the top 5%, 25% and average performers.

You can also access an online calculator to enter your own figures to see how you perform and highlight focus areas.

Block calving systems

Key Performance IndicatorsExcellent performanceGood performanceAverage performance
Cows and heifers calved within the first 6 weeks (%) >90% 80% 70%
Herd replacement rate (%) <20% 22% 26%
Milk solids output per ha (Kg milk solids/hectare) >1,500kg/ha 1,250kg/ha 1,100kg/ha
Milk yield from forage (litres) and (solids) >5,000l (427kg) 4,000l (432kg) 2,750l (235kg)
Overheads (excluding rent and finance) (ppl) 9ppl 10.5ppl 12.5ppl
Genetic merit 5th percentile 25th percentile 50th percentile

All year round calving

Key Performance Indicators

Excellent performance

Good performanceAverage performance
Pregnancy rate (%) >25% 20% 14%
Age at first calving (months)

23 months (but not less than 22 months)

24 months 27.5 months
Total purchased feed costs (pence/litre)

8,000l -7ppl

10,000l - 7.8ppl

12,000l - 8ppl

8,000l -7.5ppl

10,000l - 8.5ppl

12,000l - 8.5ppl

8,000l -8ppl

10,000l - 9ppl

12,000l - 9.5ppl

Average daily lifetime yield (litres/day) >19 litres 14.5 litres 12.5 litres
Overheads (excluding rent and finance) (ppl) 9ppl 10ppl 12.5ppl
Genetic merit 5th percentile 25th percentile 50th pecentile

Generic financial measures

Key Performance IndicatorsExcellent performanceGood performanceAverage performance
Full economic net margin (ppl) 7ppl 2ppl -3ppl
Return on tenants capital (%) >20% 14% 3%
Full economic costs of production (ppl) AYR<27.5ppl 
Block<24ppl
30ppl 34.5ppl

KPI definitions