Economic losses in dairy cattle herds due to lameness
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Today, as part of the European Union our aim is to minimize to production cost of milk and to provide a better quality instead of increasing heard size and the volume of milk production, and therefore enabling Hungarian farmers to compete with other members of the European Union and keep a good position on the Hungarian market. Long term, profitable competition can only be achieved by the reduction of production costs, by minimizing the incidence of herd disease. In studies carried out in intensive dairy units in Western Europe, North-America and in Hungary showed that lameness was responsible for the third biggest economic loss after mastitis and reproductive disorders. There is a wide source of literature dealing with the occurrence and clinical and ethological origin of the major types of lameness. The prevalence of lameness is shown to be between 2-200% based on international and Hungarian studies. The most significant value is between 25% and 55%. Different authors took into account different factors to calculate the economic losses of lameness. But, the most authors recognized the following components as the sources of losses: reduced milk production, farmer’s extra labour cost, decreased liveweight, premature culling and death, extended calving interval and treatment costs. The aim of my dissertation was to quantify the economic losses for one year caused by digital diseases. The surveys were involved on average 1476 Holstein-Frisian cows of 4 Hungarian dairy cattle farms. The method of calculation was based on partial budgeting. Average milk production was 7684 kg in the researched dairy population. Frequency of lameness was 19.2% amongst cows, of which 17.5% of cows was treated per year. Average decrease of milk production caused by digital diseases was to be found 579 kg (7.8%), the amount of discarded milk on account of antibiotic treatment was189 kg (2.6% of milk production in lactation). The average culling rate due to digital disease was 3.73%. Calving interval in cows suffering from lameness increased with 25 days on average, their body weight was less than weight of healthy cows by 6,6% (41,7 kg). In the year 2010 the calculated loss caused by digital diseases was 16,941 HUF (61.6 EUR) per cow. The largest part of losses, about 44.9%, originated from the decreased milk production, 39.4% of losses from premature culling, and economic loss originating from the drug cost accounted for 2%/ The total loss in case of digital diseases was 88,000 HUF (320 EUR) per case.