John Fetrow
University of Minnesota

Since its adoption in 1994 in the United States (US), Monsanto’s rBST product, Posilac®, has been very rapidly adopted by the commercial dairy industry. It has been shown in repeated studies to be safe for cows and to be both effective and profitable if used in adequately managed dairies. It has been widely affirmed as safe for consumers of dairy products. The economic value of rBST is exerted by increasing the production of existing cows. The prinicpal cash costs for using this technology are the cost of the product and the additional feed needed to produce the milk, with some additional labor or capital costs on some dairies. Under typical conditions, the use of Posilac® in adequately managed dairy herds returns well over 50% profit over the expenses at typical prices for milk and feed. By increasing production in existing cows, the technology spreads fixed costs over more production, increasing the margin and profits for the farm. The use of rBST is generally scale neutral and has a positive environmental impact by reducing the amount of manure produced per gallon of milk.

Key words: Posilac; BST; dairy; economics; biotechnology.