Posilac, or Not: A Producer's Decision, Not Processor's

Monsanto's new decision guide makes it easier to decide its value.

Published on: Aug 24, 2006

Monsanto is going on the offense on behalf of milk producers. "If dairy producers are asked by processors to produce milk without using Posilac, they should be paid a premium for giving up the valuable technology," claims Kevin Holloway, president of Monsanto Dairy Business.

There's no difference between milk from cows treated with Posilac bovine somatotropin and those not treated, he adds. So despite marketers' claims to the contrary, milk marketed as recombinant BST-free is no different than conventional milk. And, there still is no test to differentiate them.

The 76-cent premium value

Farmers should be compensated fairly if asked to give up Posilac - and give up an average of 10 pounds of milk a day per cow, contends Holloway. "The decision should be the dairy farmer's to use it or not. But we're trying to address producer concerns over the potential of a processor giving them no choice."

That's why Monsanto is offering dairy farmers a new decision guide titled Dairying Equals Choices. (Click on it and download a copy to your computer.)

The guide outlines important questions to ask if approached with requests to supply milk from cows not supplemented with Posilac. It outlines practical steps to take to assess the consequences of giving up the choice. The most valuable part may be a spreadsheet for determining the full value of giving up 10 pounds per cow daily.

Based on a five-year $13.85 U.S. mailbox milk price average, that 10-pound advantage works out to 76 cents per hundred for all milk produced. "At a minimum, that premium should be guaranteed to compensate for lost profitability, handling and verification costs of specialty milk," says Holloway.

To receive a hard copy of Dairying Equals Choices, contact a Monsanto Dairy Business rep or call the Customer Care Center at (800) 233-2999.