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On-farm decision support in animal health management requires a tailor-made failure costs (FCs) assessment of production disorders for the individual farm. In our study we defined a generic framework to estimate the FC of production disorders in dairy cows. We converted the framework to a practical tool in which the farm-specific FC of mastitis, ketosis, lameness and metritis were estimated for 162 organic dairy farms in four European countries. Along with the structure of the framework, the FC estimation required three distinct types of model input: performance input (related to herd performance parameters), consequential input (related to the consequences of the disorders) and economic input (related to price levels). Input was derived from official herd recordings (e.g. test-day records and animal health recordings) and farmers’ responses (e.g. questionnaire replies). The average FC of mastitis, ketosis, lameness and metritis amounted to € 96, € 21, € 43 and € 10 per cow per year, respectively. The variation in FC outcomes was high among farmers and countries. Overall ranking of the disorders based on absolute values was the same for all countries, with mastitis being the costliest disorder followed in order by lameness, ketosis, and metritis. Farm specific estimates can be used to rank production related disorders in terms of their associated failure costs and thus provide valuable insights for herd health management. The practical calculation tool developed in this study should be considered by farmers or herd health advisors to support their animal health practices or advice.
- Animal health economics