Leslie J. Butler
University of California, Davis
Marianne McGarry Wolf
California Polytechnic State University

While the potential for cloning animals has been realized for at least the last 25 years, it is only recently that sufficient advances have been made to allow the technology to advance to a stage where it is possible that widespread commercial applications of cloning may become a reality in the next few years. But much has yet to be accomplished before the farming of cloned animals and their offspring become as familiar as genetically modified plants are today. From a practical point of view, cloning could be used to increase the number, distribution, and availability of cows and bulls with superior genetics for increased milk yield, increased availability of stock with resistance to common diseases like mastitis, and increased availability of stock with desirable genetic traits associated with milk quality. Using a spreadsheet model of a “typical” dairy operation and simulation techniques, this study shows that the revenues generated by increased growth in milk production per cow were substantial and that producers may be willing to invest in such a technology. It was also found that the net present value (NPV) generated by the stream of increased net revenues created by the increased milk yields varied widely and depended on the genetic gains achieved relative to the price of the genetically superior animals. The increase in NPV from break-even is relatively rapid and indicates that there may be conditions under which dairy producers find it justifiable and profitable to invest in advanced breeding technologies like cloning in order to improve the genetic superiority of the herd.

Key words: Cloning, genetic superiority, dairy, net present value, simulation.