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The Cost of Clinical Mastitis in the First 30 Days of Lactation: an Economic Assessment Tool
Clinical mastitis results in considerable economic losses for dairy producers and is most commonly diagnosed in early lactation. The objective of this research was to estimate the economic impact of clinical mastitis occurring during the first 30 days of lactation for a representative US dairy. A deterministic partial budget model was created to estimate direct and indirect costs per case of clinical mastitis occurring during the first 30 days of lactation. Model inputs were selected from the available literature, or when none were available, from herd data. The average case of clinical mastitis resulted in a total economic cost of $444, including $128 in direct costs and $316 in indirect costs. Direct costs included diagnostics ($10), therapeutics ($36), non-saleable milk ($25), veterinary service ($4), labor ($21), and death loss ($32). Indirect costs included future milk production loss ($125), premature culling and replacement loss ($182), and future reproductive loss ($9). Accurate decision making regarding mastitis control relies on understanding the economic impacts of clinical mastitis, especially the longer term indirect costs that represent 71% of the total cost per case of mastitis. Future milk production loss represents 28% of total cost, and future culling and replacement loss represents 41% of the total cost of a case of clinical mastitis. In contrast to older estimates, these values represent the current dairy economic climate, including milk price ($0.461/kg), feed price ($0.279/kg DM (dry matter)), and replacement costs ($2,094/head), along with the latest published estimates on the production and culling effects of clinical mastitis. This economic model is designed to be customized for specific dairy producers and their herd characteristics to better aid them in developing mastitis control strategies.