Two methods of evaluating (the net social benefits of the dairy herd-improvement scheme operated by the New South Wales Department of Agriculture are described. The first involves derivation of 'an input demand' function for the herd-recording aspect of the scheme and use of this function to estimate the economic surplus (net of both private and public costs) provided by the service. The second approach involves deriving a production function for milk from which it is possible to estimate the contribution herd-recording and artificial breeding have made to increasing milk yields per cow. Social benefits are shown to have been less than social costs for herd-recording, however dairy farmers have made net private gains. The herd-recording scheme has contained a regressive subsidy element. The production function approach show that artificial breeding and herd-recording were profitable complements in production.


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