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Estimating the economic impact of subclinical ketosis in dairy cattle using a dynamic stochastic simulation model

  • P. F. Mostert (a1), E. A. M. Bokkers (a1), C. E. van Middelaar (a1), H. Hogeveen (a2) and I. J. M. de Boer (a1)...


The objective of this study was to estimate the economic impact of subclinical ketosis (SCK) in dairy cows. This metabolic disorder occurs in the period around calving and is associated with an increased risk of other diseases. Therefore, SCK affects farm productivity and profitability. Estimating the economic impact of SCK may make farmers more aware of this problem, and can improve their decision-making regarding interventions to reduce SCK. We developed a dynamic stochastic simulation model that enables estimating the economic impact of SCK and related diseases (i.e. mastitis, metritis, displaced abomasum, lameness and clinical ketosis) occurring during the first 30 days after calving. This model, which was applied to a typical Dutch dairy herd, groups cows according to their parity (1 to 5+), and simulates the dynamics of SCK and related diseases, and milk production per cow during one lactation. The economic impact of SCK and related diseases resulted from a reduced milk production, discarded milk, treatment costs, costs from a prolonged calving interval and removal (culling or dying) of cows. The total costs of SCK were €130 per case per year, with a range between €39 and €348 (5 to 95 percentiles). The total costs of SCK per case per year, moreover, increased from €83 per year in parity 1 to €175 in parity 3. Most cows with SCK, however, had SCK only (61%), and costs were €58 per case per year. Total costs of SCK per case per year resulted for 36% from a prolonged calving interval, 24% from reduced milk production, 19% from treatment, 14% from discarded milk and 6% from removal. Results of the sensitivity analysis showed that the disease incidence, removal risk, relations of SCK with other diseases and prices of milk resulted in a high variation of costs of SCK. The costs of SCK, therefore, might differ per farm because of farm-specific circumstances. Improving data collection on the incidence of SCK and related diseases, and on consequences of diseases can further improve economic estimations.


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