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Summary

Seventy-three Colorado cow/calf operations were monitored for calf mortality from birth to weaning as part of their participation in the National Animal Health Monitoring System. Producer-observed causes of calf mortality, and the costs associated with these deaths were obtained. The overall calf mortality during the study was 4.5%, with a total associated cost of $237,478. The mean cost per calf death was $216, of which $208 was attributed to the potential value of the calf and an additional $8 was for veterinary, drug, producer's labor, and carcass disposal expenses. The most commonly reported causes of calf mortality were dystocia (17.5%), stillbirth (12.4%), hypothermia (12.2%), diarrhea (11.5%), and respiratory infections (7.6%). These 5 disease conditions accounted for > 60% of all calf deaths. A cause was not determined for 19.7% of the calf deaths. Beef producers and veterinarians have the potential to decrease calf mortality and increase profits in cow/calf operations by implementing management strategies and herd health programs designed to decrease the number of calf deaths caused by these disease conditions.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary:

A stratified random sample of 50 Ohio dairy herds, monitored for 1 year between March 1988 and May 1989, was used to estimate the component costs of clinical mastitis per cow-year overall and by organism, the component costs of an episode of clinical mastitis overall and by organism, and the incidence of clinical mastitis by organism. Each herd was visited monthly by a veterinarian who conducted on-farm interviews and completed standardized data-collection forms designed to elicit economic information about the on-farm costs of clinical mastitis and mastitis prevention. Producers collected milk samples prior to treatment of clinical mastitis cases. Culturing methods allowed identification of 18 specific mastitis pathogen classifications. Annual costs estimated were on a per cow-year and clinical episode basis. The monthly mean population of cows monitored was 4,068. Mastitis prevention cost $14.50/cow-year, whereas the cost incurred by producers because of clinical cases of mastitis was $37.91. Organisms prevalent in the cows’ environment caused the most costly types of mastitis. Disregarding contaminated samples and episodes for which no milk samples were taken, mastitis for which 2 organisms were isolated accounted for 35.5% of costs of clinical mastitis, followed by cases for which Escherichia coli (21.3%) was isolated, cases for which culturing yielded no growth (8.6%), and cases for which esculin-positive Streptococcus spp (6.4%), Klebsiella spp (5.7%), esculin-negative CAMP-negative Streptococcus spp (5.1%), Enterobacter spp (4.8%), coagulase-negative Staphylococcus spp (4.1%), coagulase-positive Staphylococcus spp (3.0%), S agalactiae (2.5%), and Bacillus spp (1.2%) were isolated. Other categories of classification each accounted for < 0.5% of costs. Mean cost per clinical episode was $107.11. Mean incidence of clinical mastitis was 38.74 cases/100 cowyears. Mixed infections had the highest incidence (mean, 4.80 cases/100 cow-years), followed by cases with no growth (2.96), E coli (2.10), esculin-positive Streptococcus spp (1.94), coagulase-negative Staphylococcus spp (1.60), esculin-negative CAMP-negative Streptococcus spp (1.25), coagulase-positive Staphylococcus spp (1.04), Enterobacter spp (0.36), and Klebsiella spp (0.27).

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary:

A field trial was conducted to measure differences in performance between selenium-supplemented and nonsupplemented heifers on a 1,200-cow California dairy. One hundred seventeen 19- to 27-month-old Holstein heifers were randomly assigned to treatment (n = 59) and control (n = 58) groups. A federally approved, commercially available, sustained-release intraruminal selenium bolus was administered to each heifer in the treatment group. Blood samples were taken from treated and control animals to assess selenium values before and after bolus administration and again after introduction to the milking ration. Production data were obtained from an on-farm computerized record system for each heifer during her first lactation.

Mean blood selenium concentrations in treated heifers were higher than those in control heifers from posttreatment day 30 until after calving. Data analyzed in midlactation and late lactation indicated no significant differences between treated and control groups in somatic cell count, days not pregnant, total milk produced, or times bred.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary:

Mastitis monitoring and control programs were instituted in 4 Illinois dairy herds for 12 months. Two herds had high mean monthly bulk tank somatic cell counts (> 490,000 cells/ml) and 2 had low mean monthly bulk tank somatic cell counts (< 260,000 cells/ml) at the start of the study. The mastitis monitoring and control programs included mandatory mastitis control measures, as well as individualized control measures that were based on results of bacterial cultures of milk, bulk tank milk analyses, milking machine and milking procedure evaluations, and environmental inspections in each herd. Changes in mastitis prevalence, clinical mastitis incidence, milk yield, and individual cow somatic cell counts were evaluated, and an economic analysis was performed for each herd.

Mastitis-associated economic losses during the study period ranged from $161.79 to $344.16/lactating cow in the 4 herds. Gross economic benefits resulted when mastitis-associated losses were lower with the monitoring and control program than predicted without it. There were no gross economic benefits in the herds with low somatic cell counts, and, when the marginal costs of the programs were added, there were large net losses ($84.06 and $113.01/lactating cow) in those herds. Gross economic benefits resulted in both of the herds with high somatic cell counts. However, in 1 of the herds, the marginal costs of the program exceeded the benefits, resulting in a net loss of $12.96/lactating cow. The net loss was attributed primarily to poor producer compliance with recommendations. There was a net economic benefit of $19.11/lactating cow in the other herd with high somatic cell counts, in which producer compliance was better. The study demonstrates the need for more research to identify mastitis control measures that are both effective and economical in herds with low somatic cell counts.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary:

The value of the marginal product (vmp) for veterinary services and medical supplies (vetmed), and the profit maximizing level of vetmed were estimated for dairy producers. Data from the Pennsylvania Farmers Association-Dairy Farm Business Analysis system during the years of 1986 to 1990 were used to evaluate the functional relationship between production and expenditures for vetmed. Other input variables examined were man-year equivalents of labor, asset values, value of feed fed, and culling rate. Data were screened to reflect economically viable dairy farms in Pennsylvania, and 173 such farms participated for each of the 5 years analyzed. The vmp was estimated for 1990. Profit maximizing levels for vetmed were estimated for 1990 holding other input variables at their mean values.

Mean expenditures for vetmed were $2,606/farm, or $43/cow in 1990. The vmp for vetmed was estimated to be $3.22 or $4.98, depending on the method of calculation. In other words, the marginal dollar spent on vetmed generated $3.22 ($4.98) in additional revenue from milk production. The profit maximizing level of expenditures for vetmed was $138/cow, substantially more than the mean, indicating the potential for farms in this data set to improve profitability through additional expenditures on vetmed.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

The effect of pseudorabies in a commercial farrow-to-finish operation on selected production and economic values was estimated. Pseudorabies was first diagnosed in this herd by circle testing done in March 1988, as a required part of follow up from another herd that had been diagnosed with pseudorabies in the area. A pseudorabies virus vaccination program was initiated in the herd at that time.

The mean litter size of pigs born alive varied from 9.26 to 10.02 pigs/litter throughout the study period; however, there was a twofold increase in suckling pig mortality and a 2.6-fold increase in nursery pig mortality when the months of the epizootic were compared with pre-epizootic months. In the 6-month period following the epizootic, suckling pig mortality was threefold higher than that reported in the preepizootic months.

Total net loss for this operation was estimated at $99,700 from when the epizootic started until eradication, when calculating losses directly. The major economic losses (76.5% of total loss) were related to suckling pig mortality, which was $16,240 during the epizootic or $24/inventoried sow/week; $19,395 in the 6 months following the epizootic or $3.8/inventoried sow/week; and $40,628 thereafter until eradication 26 months later or $0.37/inventoried sow/week. Nursery pig mortality losses were 12.6% of total net losses; $754 during the epizootic, $357 in the 6 months after the enzootic, and $11,444 thereafter until eradication 26 months later. Sow culling and deaths accounted for 9.4% of net losses that took place from 6 months after the epizootic until eradication. In that same period, market hog deaths accounted for the remaining 1.2%, or $1,227 of the net losses.

When calculating economic losses indirectly by using hogs marketed/sow/year during, and after the pseudorabies epizootic until eradication, total net losses were $85,520. Losses from decreased hog production was $4,156 during the epizootic and $12,000 for the 6 months following the epizootic. From then until eradication, losses were $3,817 for the last 2 months in 1988, $23,969 for 1989, and $41,578 for 1990.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

A spreadsheet program was written to perform decision tree analysis for control of paratuberculosis (Johne's disease), when testing all adults in a herd and culling all animals with positive test results. The program incorporated diagnostic test sensitivity, specificity, and test cost with the cost or value of each of the 4 possible outcomes; true-positive, true-negative, false-positive, and false-negative test results. The program was designed to repeat the analysis for the independent variable pretest paratuberculosis prevalence (0 to 100%). Model output was graphed as profit or loss in dollars vs pretest prevalence. The threshold was defined as the pretest prevalence at which benefit-cost equaled zero. Reed-Frost disease modeling techniques were used to predict the number of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis-infected replacement heifers resulting from infected cows during a control program. Sensitivity analysis was performed on variables of the decision tree model; test sensitivity, specificity, test cost, and factors affecting the cost of paratuberculosis to a commercial dairy. A test and cull program was profitable when paratuberculosis caused ≥ 6% decrease in milk production if the pretest prevalence was > 6%, test sensitivity was 50%, test specificity was 98%, and the testing cost was $4/cow. Test specificities > 98% did not markedly affect the threshold for tests with a 50% sensitivity and costing $4/cow. Test sensitivity had minimal effect on the threshold. Using a diagnostic test with a 50% sensitivity and a 98% specificity as an example, test cost was shown to affect the threshold prevalence at which the test and cull program became profitable. Any test costing ≤ $8/ cow was roughly equivalent in profit threshold. Given the characteristics of most diagnostic tests for paratuberculosis in use today, and assuming that paratuberculosis causes at least a 6% decrease in milk production of cows, the decision analysis model suggested a test and cull program should be profitable when pretest paratuberculosis herd prevalence is > 5%.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

Efforts to reduce the prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus intramammary infection were monitored in 3 Ohio dairy herds. Bacteriologic culturing of milk from all lactating cows in each herd was completed multiple times to identify infected cows and monitor reduction. Partial budgeting techniques were used to determine the economic outcome of the reduction program. Of particular emphasis was the economic impact of culling to maintain or achieve milk quality premium payments on the basis of bulk tank somatic cell counts. The prevalence of S aureus-infected cows was reduced in each herd. Culturing of milk from all lactating cows appeared to be an effective method to identify infected cows. Although numbers were limited, it also appeared that culturing of composite quarter samples was effective as a herd screening test to identify S aureus-infected cows. Bacteriologic culturing had a negative financial impact in all 3 herds. Using partial budgeting to assess the economic impact of the programs, it was determined that 2 herds experienced negative financial impacts as a result of an excess culling rate when compared with a 12-month baseline period prior to the initiation of the project. All herds had increased milk production per cow during the study as measured by the mature-equivalent method. However, when actual production was considered, increased milk production in each herd was not as great as that of other Ohio herds enrolled on Dairy Herd Improvement Association testing programs. Thus, each herd had a slight negative impact in revenues as a result of lower than expected increased production. Two herds received milk quality premiums. Although quality premiums were as great as $70 per cow per year, excess culling costs resulted in a negative net financial impact during the first 2 full years of the project in 1 herd and the first full year of the other herd that received a quality premium. Overall results of this study suggest that although quality premiums may be substantial, excessive culling is expensive, particularly in the short run.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

Partial budget analysis of clinical coliform mastitis prevention supported vaccination of dairy cows with an Escherichia coli J5 vaccine. Increased profits of $57/ cow lactation were predicted using a computer spreadsheet derived partial budget with generalized herd input data. Herd vaccination programs were predicted to be profitable when > 1% of cow lactations resulted in clinical coliform mastitis. Herd vaccination programs were predicted to be profitable at all herd milk production levels.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

Nine dairy herds (mean size, 149 cows) with bulk-tank milk somatic cell counts of < 300,000 cells/ml and > 80% of cows with Dairy Herd Improvement Association linear somatic cell counts ≤ 4 were selected for study. Each herd was monitored for 12 consecutive months. Duplicate quarter-milk specimens were collected from each cow for bacteriologic culturing at beginning of lactation, cessation of lactation, and at the time of each clinical episode of mastitis. Streptococcus agalactiae was never isolated and Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from < 1% of all quarters. There were 554 episodes of clinical mastitis. During the year of study, the incidence rate of clinical mastitis varied from 15.6 to 63.7% of cows among the 9 herds. Mean costs per cow per year in herd for mastitis prevention were: $10 for paper towels, $3 for nonlactating cow treatment, and $10 for teat disinfectants. Mean cost associated with clinical mastitis was $107/episode. Approximately 84% ($90) of the costs attributed to a clinical episode were associated with decreased milk production and nonsalable milk. Costs of medication and professional veterinary fees per clinical episode varied Significantly among the 9 herds. Three of the herds did not have a veterinarian treat a clinical episode of mastitis during the year of study even though 2 of these herds had the first and third highest incidence rates of clinical mastitis. When calculated on a per cow in herd basis, mean costs of $40/cow/year were attributed to clinical mastitis. Our findings suggest that herds that have effectively controlled mastitis caused by contagious pathogens may still have substantial economic losses as a result of clinical mastitis and that losses and even rates of clinical mastitis may vary considerably among such herds.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association