Dairy cows are negatively affected by the introduction of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), and consequently, produce less milk. Existing literature on potential milk production losses is based on relatively outdated data and hardly evaluates milk production loss in relation to a new BVDV infection in a surveillance system. This study determined the annual and quarterly loss in milk production of BVDV introduction in 3,126 dairy herds participating in the Dutch BVDV-free program between 2007 and 2017. Among these herds, 640 were “breakdown-herds” that obtained and subsequently lost their BVDV-free status during the study period, and 2,486 herds obtained and retained their BVDV-free status during the study period. Milk yields before and after BVDV introduction were compared through annual and quarterly linear mixed models. The fixed variables for both models included herd type (breakdown-herd or free-herd), bovine viral diarrhea status (on an annual and quarterly basis), year, season, and a random herd effect. The dependent variable was the average daily milk yield on the test day. To define the possible BVDV-introduction dates, 4 scenarios were developed. In the default scenario, the date of breakdown (i.e., loss of the BVDV-free status) was assumed as the BVDV-introduction date. For the other 3 scenarios, the BVDV-introduction dates were set at 4, 6, and 9 mo before the date of breakdown, based on the estimated birth date of a persistently infected calf. In the default scenario, the loss in milk yield due to BVDV introduction occurred mainly in the first year after breakdown, with a reduction in yield of 0.08 kg/cow per day compared with the last year before breakdown. For the other 3 scenarios, the greatest yield reduction occurred in the second year after BVDV introduction, with a loss of 0.09, 0.09, and 0.1 kg/cow per day, respectively. For the first 4 quarters after BVDV introduction in the default scenario, milk yield loss was 0.14, 0.09, 0.02, and 0.08 kg/cow per day, respectively. These quarterly results indicated that milk yield loss was greatest in the first quarter after BVDV introduction. Overall, BVDV introduction had a negative, but on average a relatively small, effect on milk yield for herds participating in the BVDV-free program. This study will enable dairy farmers and policymakers to have a clearer understanding of the quantitative milk production effect of BVDV on dairy farms in a control program.
- bovine viral diarrhea virus, bovine viral diarrhea virus introduction, control program, milk production