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  • Author or Editor: Christian Eisele x
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Objective

To monitor effects that improvements in housing facilities would have on herd performance. Financial measures were calculated to estimate whether improvements resulted in an improved financial status for the farm.

Design

Prospective, observational study.

Animals

160-cow dairy herd.

Procedure

Farm visits were conducted from 1990 to 1994. Areas for improvement were identified, and changes were recommended. Herd production and farm financial records were analyzed before, during, and after adoption of recommended changes.

Results

After improving facilities, somatic cell count was somewhat constant, but tended to decrease during the last 16 months of the study. During the last 8 months of the study, incidence for clinical cases of mastitis decreased to 3.3% per month. Reproductive variables improved dramatically after implementing use of a bull for breeding. Subjective evaluation of cow comfort and lameness indicated apparent improvements in each area. However, milk production remained fairly constant from January 1991 through December 1994.

Review of the farm's financial status revealed that costs of production increased from 1990 through 1993, but decreased in 1994. Slow financial response to improvements were attributed to a large decrease in milk price in 1991 and a poor crop harvest in 1993. Thus, although progress was made toward financial stability, approximately 55% of the farm's assets (determined on a market-basis value) were represented by debt.

Clinical Implications

It is important to monitor financial status when managing complex health problems that involve several aspects of a farm's operation. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209:1406–1410)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objective

To use an on-farm recording form to quantify the effect of specific management practices on apparent prevalence of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis in dairy cattle herds.

Design

Epidemiologic survey.

Animals

26 commercial Wisconsin dairy farms.

Procedures

An instrument was developed on the basis of literature review and expert interviews to quantify on-farm management practices associated with increased apparent prevalence of M paratuberculosis. On-farm visits were conducted to assess how specific management practices were conducted. Apparent prevalence of M paratuberculosis infection was measured for all animals > 20 months old on all farms, using a commercial ELISA. Regression analysis was used to identify management variables that were significantly associated with apparent prevalence of M paratuberculosis.

Results

Regression analysis (R 2 = 0.90) identified that high scores for environmental conditions, newborn calf care, grower calf care, bred heifer care, and manure handling were significantly associated with M paratuberculosis apparent prevalence in Wisconsin dairy herds.

Clinical Implications

Environmental conditions, newborn calf care, grower calf management, bred heifer management, and manure handling factors may serve as a prioritized checklist for instructing owners and managers where to place emphasis in changing management practices to limit M paratuberculosis prevalence. Likewise, the factors identified as having low association with apparent prevalence may be de-emphasized in control programs, allowing dairy managers to focus time and finances on more effective components of an M paratuberculosis control program. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:1877-1881)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association