Comparing the economic impact of production diseases in dairy cattle between countries

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


Production diseases cause large economic losses in dairy farming. Mastitis is reported as the most costly production disease in dairy cattle followed by fertility problems, lameness and metabolic disorders. A wide range of approaches and economic assessments have been published to calculate the economic impact of these production diseases. Examples of approaches vary
from straightforward cost calculations to more complex bio-economic simulation models.
These studies show large variations, which can be explained by the use of different data sources, assumptions that are taken, country specific variations and different calculation techniques.
This makes it hardly impossible to compare the results of the different studies and to understand if differences in disease costs are due to the calculation methods or due to farms and country differences. The objective of this study is to compare the costs of production diseases between different dairy production systems and different countries. A calculation tool is developed
considering general economic and technical farm data, like herds size, milk production and milk and feed prices. For each production disease (mastitis, lameness, metabolic disorders and reproduction problems), specific data on incidence, treatments, production effects and culling are collected. The disease costs were estimated by determining the milk production losses, discarded milk, treatments, veterinarian, farmers´ labor and death and culling. The data is based on literature and expert opinions, collected from the Netherlands, Florida (US), Minnesota (US) and New Zeeland. For each country a typical farm is defined. The total costs for the diseases varies substantially between countries and are highest for Florida, followed by Minnesota, New Zeeland and the Netherlands. However, the size of the average dairy herd
in Florida is larger and therefore the disease costs per dairy cow are not always highest. The highest total costs are found for lameness, followed by reproduction disorders, mastitis and metabolic disorders. The biggest cost factors are losses in milk production and due to culling and death. For mastitis and reproduction disorders the size of the different costs factors varies
a lot between the countries. In contrast to literature, we found that mastitis was not the most costly disease. The results stress out that the use of a standardized calculation method makes it possible to better understand the cost of disease between countries and production systems and allows to compare the different production diseases in a more structured way.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook abstracts of the 16th International Conference on Production Diseases in Farm Animals
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)9789086868315
ISBN (Print)9789086862856
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event16th International Conference on Production Diseases in Farm Animals - Wageningen University (Hof van Wageningen Conference Centre), Wageningen, Netherlands
Duration: 22 Jun 201623 Jun 2016
Conference number: 16


Conference16th International Conference on Production Diseases in Farm Animals
Abbreviated titleICPD 2016
Internet address


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