Risk-based audit selection of dairy farms

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Dairy farms are audited in the Netherlands on numerous process standards. Each farm is audited once every 2 years. Increasing demands for cost-effectiveness in farm audits can be met by introducing risk-based principles. This implies targeting subpopulations with a higher risk of poor process standards. To select farms for an audit that present higher risks, a statistical analysis was conducted to test the relationship between the outcome of farm audits and bulk milk laboratory results before the audit. The analysis comprised 28,358 farm audits and all conducted laboratory tests of bulk milk samples 12 mo before the audit. The overall outcome of each farm audit was classified as approved or rejected. Laboratory results included somatic cell count (SCC), total bacterial count (TBC), antimicrobial drug residues (ADR), level of butyric acid spores (BAB), freezing point depression (FPD), level of free fatty acids (FFA), and cleanliness of the milk (CLN). The bulk milk laboratory results were significantly related to audit outcomes. Rejected audits are likely to occur on dairy farms with higher mean levels of SCC, TBC, ADR, and BAB. Moreover, in a multivariable model, maxima for TBC, SCC, and FPD as well as standard deviations for TBC and FPD are risk factors for negative audit outcomes. The efficiency curve of a risk-based selection approach, on the basis of the derived regression results, dominated the current random selection approach. To capture 25, 50, or 75% of the population with poor process standards (i.e., audit outcome of rejected), respectively, only 8, 20, or 47% of the population had to be sampled based on a risk-based selection approach. Milk quality information can thus be used to preselect high-risk farms to be audited more frequently.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-597
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • milk


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