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 five 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 good, average and poor operators are currently achieving using Dairy industry data from the top and bottom 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 IndicatorsGood performanceAverage performancePoor performance
Cows and heifers calved within the first 6 weeks (%) >90% 58% <50%
Solids output per ha (Kg milk solids/hectare) >1250kg/ha 1050kg/ha <850kg/ha
Milk output from forage (litres) >4000l 2600l <2400l
Herd replacement rate (%) 18% 25% >30%
Overheads (fixed costs) as a proportion of income (output) (%) <30% 40% >50%
Genetic merit <25% 25 - 75% >75%

All year round calving

Key Performance IndicatorsGood performanceAverage performancePoor performance
Pregnancy rate (%) >20% 14% <8%
Age at first calving (months) 24 months 27 months >30 months
Total feed costs (pence/litre) <8 ppl 9 ppl >10 ppl
Average daily lifetime yield (litres/day) >13.6 litres 11.8 litres <9.8 litres
Overheads (fixed costs) as a proportion of income (output) (%) <30% 40% >50%
Genetic merit <25% 25 - 75% >75%

Generic financial measures

Key Performance IndicatorsGood performanceAverage performancePoor performance
Income (output) retained (%) 20% 5% <0%
Return on tenants capital (%) 20% 7% <0%
Full economic costs of production (ppl) AYR<25ppl 
Block<22ppl
28.5ppl >32ppl

KPI definitions