De kosten van diergezondheidsproblemen op een melkveebedrijf; En de waarde van bedrijfsadvisering
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Many veterinarians offer some sort of herd health program. The economic value of these programs for the dairy farmer is not clear. Marketing of these programs is therefore difficult. The aim of this study was to create a calculation tool with which veterinarians can calculate the costs of disease on a specific dairy farm, and estimate the value of veterinary advice. The study was carried out in three steps. First a literature study to determine the costs of the most important animal health problems on dairy farms and to determine the factors causing the majority of these costs. The second step was an interview, carried out under thirteen veterinarians, in which they were asked to estimate which animal health problem causes the largest economic losses on dairy farms and to estimate the improvement (in % of reduced losses) that their advice would give for the different animal health problems. The last step was the development of a calculation model (using Microsoft Excel) for the costs of animal health problems and the reduction of costs due to veterinary advise for default and specific Dutch dairy farms. For an average Dutch dairy farm (65 milking cows), the total annual economic loss due to selected diseases was more than € 22,000 per year, € 338 per cow. Mastitis accounted for the largest proportion of these costs, followed by poor fertility. There was a discrepancy between the calculated costs and the average expectation of the interviewed veterinarians. Veterinarians thought the highest economic loss was caused by lameness, followed by poor fertility and mastitis. The average percentage of improvement, estimated by the veterinarians was approximately 40 % on each of the animal health problems. Implemented in the calculation tool (using default settings), the expected annual reduction in costs due to animal diseases is approximately € 9,000. The minimum expected annual reduction in costs, using the lowest estimated values, is approximately € 2,000. From the results the following conclusions can be drawn: Animal diseases are an important cost factor on Dutch dairy farms. For a typical farm with 65 cows, costs are estimated to be € 22,000 per year. It is difficult to give an economic value to veterinary advice, but expected reduction in costs of animal diseases as result of veterinary advise is € 9,000 per year. Even with the lowest estimated effect, this reduction is more than € 2,000 per year.