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Animal. 2011 Jan;5(1):33-42. doi: 10.1017/S1751731110001655.

Estimation of economic values and financial losses associated with clinical mastitis and somatic cell score in Holstein dairy cattle.

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  • 1Department of Animal Science, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran. sadeghism@ut.ac.ir


The objective of this study was to develop a method for calculating economic values of clinical mastitis (CM) and somatic cell score (SCS) for inclusion in a dairy cattle breeding goal in the context of a country where farm production and economic data are scarce. In order to calculate the costs and derive economic values for SCS, a new model, 'milk collection method', has been developed and was compared with the Meijering model with individual and average SCS distributions. For the population, estimated economic values using the milk collection method were 1.3 and 2.4 times higher than those of Meijering method with average and individual SCS, respectively. The milk collection method needs no assumptions about normality of the distribution of SCS and because of a lack of normality in Iranian data for SCS, the Meijering method resulted in economic values that were biased downwards. Failing to account for the fact that milk price penalties for SCS are applied at milk collection rather than individual cow level resulted in a further large downward bias in the economic value of SCS. When the distribution of data is unknown or difficult to approximate or when a transformation to normality is not straightforward, the milk collection method would be preferable. Inclusion of SCS and CM in the breeding goal for Iranian dairy cattle is justified based on these results. The model to calculate mastitis costs proposed here could be used to estimate economic values for CM in other developing countries where farm production and economic data are generally poor.

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