Use of partial budgeting to determine the economic outcome of Staphylococcus aureus intramammary infection reduction strategies in three Ohio dairy herds

K. H. Hoblet From the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, 1900 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210.

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G. Y. Miller From the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, 1900 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210.

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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.

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.

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