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Economic impacts of reduced milk production associated with an increase in bulk-tank somatic cell count on US dairies

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  • 1 Losinger Economic Consulting Services, 5212 Kingsbury Estates Dr, Plainfield, IL 60544.

Abstract

Objective—To measure the economic impacts attributable to an increase in bulk-tank somatic cell count (BTSCC) on US dairies.

Design—Meta-analysis of data from various sources.

Procedure—Economic impacts attributable to reduced milk production associated with an increase in BTSCC (≥ 200,000 cells/mL) in dairy cows during 1996 were estimated from supply-and-demand curves for milk and from an estimate of the effect of increased BTSCC on milk production.

Results—Reduced milk production associated with an increase in BTSCC in dairy cows during 1996 caused an economic loss (mean ± 2SE) of 3.1 ± 2.1 billion dollars to consumers, an economic gain of 2.2 ± 1.7 billion dollars to dairy producers, and a total loss of 810 ± 480 million dollars to the US economy as a whole.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Consumers would stand to benefit from increased milk production associated with reducing the BTSCC to < 200,000 cells/mL on all dairy operations, whereas the US dairy industry would experience an economic loss. Individual dairy producers need to compare the costs of measures intended to reduce BTSCC with the anticipated benefits from a decrease in BTSCC. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:1652–1658)