Milk Yield Prediction

Knowledge of lactation curves and yields in dairy cattle is important for making decisions on herd management level. The milk yield prediction in Horizon allows dairy farmers to discover insight into milk production and forecast future milk yield at both the individual cow and herd level. What are the parameters that are included in the prediction? The milk yield prediction is calculated on cow level, based on the following variables:

  • Milk yield in previous lactations;

  • Lactation number;

  • Days in lactation;

  • Expected dry off date;

  • Expected calving date/


For heifers, there is no data from previous lactations; their milk yield prediction is based on the average milk yield production of heifers on that farm. After a few days, the curve will have gathered enough data for this specific cow, and it will adjust accordingly. Heifers are taken into account in the milk yield prediction from the expected calving date onwards.

Reliability of the model

The Mean Absolute Percentage Error (MAPE) of the current lactation is 9.5%, for future lactations is 10.5%. This is relatively low, lower than the most used scientific model (Dijkstra model).

Keep in mind that future changes in feed ration and health issues are not taken in to account by the model, since they are very difficult to predict. There is also no correction made for keep open cows that are still being milked or replacement rate. Only after the cow has been transferred out, they will no longer be taken into account in the predictions.


Dashboard milk yield prediction widget

The Milk yield prediction on herd level is calculated by combining all data of the individual cows in the herd and heifers that will calve within the next 6 months. It shows the milk yield of last 3 months and the prediction for the upcoming 6 months.

Milk yield prediction the cow card

The lactation curve widget on the cow card shows the achieved milk yield for the current lactation, and the expected milk yield for the rest of her lactation based on the above-described variables. The milk yield prediction on cow level is also visible in the Margin per cow tab.

Availability of the information

For migrating customers, the milk yield prediction is directly visible, for new farmers the milk yield predictions will be visible after 92 days. Good to know is that the more data the model has, the better the predictions, similar to the KPI’s, who are also less reliable the first weeks after startup because of the limited reference data.


For more information or questions, contact your FMS Specialist

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