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Estimating the costs of rearing young
dairy cattle in the Netherlands using a
simulation model that accounts for
uncertainty related to diseases
ARTICLE in PREVENTIVE VETERINARY MEDICINE · APRIL 2012
Impact Factor: 2.17 · DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2012.03.004 · Source: PubMed

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a calf level simulation model was built to estimate the rearing costs and their distribution from 2 weeks of age until first calving in the Netherlands. norhariani@putra. The difference in the average cost of rearing between heifers that calved at 24 months and those calving at 30 months was D 400 per heifer reared. 2000a.O. M.03. the rearing of dairy replacements often does not get the attention it requires to be successful (Bach and Ahedo. The Netherlands a r t i c l e i n f o Article history: Received 31 March 2011 Received in revised form 20 February 2012 Accepted 13 March 2012 Keywords: Young dairy cattle rearing Simulation model Calf diseases Economics a b s t r a c t The costs of rearing young dairy cattle are a part of the cost of the price of milk.2012. Mourits c . In addition. Overall. while the relative contribution to the average rearing cost for a standard Dutch dairy farm is low (approx. Hence. 2001). 2008. Tozer and Heinrichs. 0167-5877/$ – see front matter © 2012 Elsevier B. among other things. All rights reserved.1016/j. 43400 Serdang. P. the rearing of dairy replacements often does not get the attention it deserves. well-managed young dairy cattle rearing is important. Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Hogeveen a.nl.B. growth was modeled stochastically and in a detailed manner using a two-phase growth function. 6706 KN. University Putra Malaysia. H. Calculating the distribution of the rearing costs throughout the rearing process is difficult as the costs are correlated with biological processes. Wageningen University. 30% of the dairy cows are culled each year (CRV. Nevertheless. In this study.my (N. As most dairy farmers are not aware of the rearing costs.V. E-mail addresses: N.com/locate/prevetmed Estimating the costs of rearing young dairy cattle in the Netherlands using a simulation model that accounts for uncertainty related to diseases N. Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.c a b c Department of Farm Animal Health. as rearing produces the future dairy cows. W. Introduction In the Netherlands. The rearing costs of a heifer that experienced disease at least once (20% of the simulated heifers) were on average D 95 higher than those of healthy heifers. Mohd Nor a.b. 2009) and have to be replaced. To produce a good quality replacement heifer. Box 80151.V.004 Most Dutch dairy farms rear their own young dairy cattle to provide replacement heifers. the model developed proved to be a useful tool to investigate the total cost of rearing young dairy cattle. Reducing the age of first calving by 1 month reduced the total cost between 2. It consists. of keeping a close check on the weight and age at first calving (Mourits et al. © 2012 Elsevier B.7%. as a component of the farm management system. Box 8130.6% and 5.∗ . Gulliksen . The uncertainties related to calf diseases (calf scours and bovine respiratory disease) were included. 3%).: +31 30 252 1887. doi:10. Wageningen. Mohd Nor). providing insights to dairy farmers with respect to the cost-efficiency of their own rearing management.prevetmed. disease costs can be rather high. Tel. fax: +31 30 253 1248. The Netherlands Department of Preclinical Sciences.edu.Preventive Veterinary Medicine 106 (2012) 214–224 Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect Preventive Veterinary Medicine journal homepage: www. such as variation in growth rate and disease uncertainty. Selangor. in which both the probabilities of disease and the effects of diseases (growth reduction) differ at different ages..MohdNor@uu. Average rearing costs were especially influenced by labor efficiency and cost of feed.elsevier.upm.M. for an individual diseased heifer. Steeneveld c . on average. 3508 TD.C. P. Utrecht University. 1.O. The total cost of rearing young dairy cattle was estimated as D 1567 per successfully reared heifer and varied between D 1423 and D 1715. Malaysia Business Economics. All rights reserved. ∗ Corresponding author.

54 stages were defined to reflect time steps in the development for a heifer calf from 2 weeks of age to a fully grown heifer. a stochastic model is developed to account for the uncertainty related to calf diseases and variations in growth. Model development To estimate the costs of rearing young dairy cattle in the Netherlands. 29. Various studies on the cost of rearing young dairy cattle have been published (Mourits et al. 41. 2001).1. 2008. 2 = calf scours. Tozer and Heinrichs. death or age at culling. a Monte Carlo simulation model at the calf level was developed in Microsoft Excel (Microsoft Corporation. 2000. 2008) and the uncertainty of the occurrence of diseases (Van Der Fels-Klerx et al.. feed costs. labor costs and breeding costs were calculated and accumulated from 2 weeks of age until first calving. 81. 1997.01129))c RiskDiscrete (0: 1. If no information was available. The results of these replications were stored and were analyzed using SAS version 9. 48.. veterinary expertise (veterinarians from Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Therefore. 1-estrus detection rate: estrus detection rate) a States have to be translated to: 1 = healthy. In the Netherlands. On the basis of the results of this study. barn costs. Gabler et al. 570)) c RiskNormal (0. is the most important factor in rearing young dairy cattle as it determines the feed costs.. Such a marked time lag between input and output makes it difficult for dairy farmers to recognize the economic impact of rearing decisions made on the farm. b a1 = asymptotic BW during the first phase (kg).5. 2005. in this study. new born heifer calves are not allowed to leave the farm before 2 weeks of age. NC). a2 = asymptotic BW during the second phase (kg). Considering the variations in the combination of states occurring per stage. Ithaca. 20. Mohd Nor et al. 2000). RiskTruncate (236. / Preventive Veterinary Medicine 106 (2012) 214–224 215 Table 1 Probability distributions employed with the specific commands used in @Risk to model the uncertainty and variation in young dairy cattle rearing. . 2001). According to Dutch legislation. et al. In this model. The objective of this study is to develop a stochastic model to estimate the distribution of costs during young dairy cattle rearing in the Netherlands. 340)) c RiskNormal (237. it would be easier for them to apply cost-effective changes on their farms.00157. Gabler et al. NY. 2009b). At each stage. Thus. b1 = age at the first inflection point (d). This is probably because dairy farmers are not aware of the total cost of rearing young dairy cattle. km = maturation rate. Accordingly. 1-call probability: call probability) RiskNormal (309. These cost components are difficult to calculate because they are correlated with variation in growth (Mourits et al.. Materials and methods 2. Heifer calves were simulated assuming the application of a management approach ensuring good herd health. handbooks and webpages (Table 2). Although these studies give good insights into the total cost of rearing. Bach and Ahedo. 2009). and reproduction status (prepubertal.9. RiskTruncate (0. 2. Growth. RiskTruncate (150. Redmond. Inputs were based on information obtained from scientific articles. b2 = age at the second inflection point (d). the average rearing period is 26 months (CRV. maximum)). standard deviation. Transition between these states within stages is determined stochastically using various probability distributions (Table 1). WA. USA).1 (SAS Institute Inc.... the rearing period in this study is defined as the period between 2 weeks of age and first calving. labor costs. mortality costs. 12) RiskDiscrete (statesa . RiskTruncate (minimum. Cary. The settings of the model were chosen to represent the Dutch dairy production system. Input variables Command Month of birth Disease State Veterinary call Growth Two phase growth function a1 b a2 b b1 b b2 b km2 Reproduction Estrus detection RiskIntUniform (1.. If farmers were to become aware of the variation in the cost components related to rearing of dairy replacements.01128. cyclic. 2011).2. At each stage. 4 = dead. states probability) RiskDiscrete (0: 1. first calving age and weight (Mourits et al. selection of heifer calves takes place at the age of 2 weeks. in particular. diseased or dead). Heinrichs and Heinrichs. and from a practice in the north of the Netherlands) and the authors’ expertise were used. Utrecht University. they did not consider the uncertainty related to calf diseases.. reproduction failure costs and carcass removal costs. RiskTruncate (308. 3 = bovine respiratory disease. and estrus and conception (Gabler et al. 270)) c RiskNormal (161. c RiskNormal (mean. 0. farmers can become more aware of the distribution of costs during young stock rearing. such as healthcare costs. Svensson and Hultgren. 2001). pregnant) that we have called ‘states’ in this study.01122. feed costs. mortality (Tozer and Heinrichs. barn costs. 2000) and is correlated with milk production in the first lactation (Zanton and Heinrichs. 1999. health status (healthy. 1999.1. costs of breeding. RiskTruncate (520. and thus start to prioritize and change the management of rearing young stock to improve the profitability of the dairy farm. healthcare costs. 0. 175)) c RiskNormal (550. The total cost of rearing young dairy cattle comprises several cost components.N. a young dairy animal is characterized by a combination of observations including body weight (BW). USA) using @Risk add-in software (Palisade Corporation.000 replications were carried out to obtain insight into the possible range of outcomes.

enteritis. H2 and H3 = probability of cure from a previous diseased state.63/kg 92/calf/year 55/calf 475/heifer Veterinary expertise Veterinary expertise Huijps et al. (1990). Stage = x + 1 Statesa Stage = x a Healthy CS BRD Dead Healthy b H1 H2b H3b 0 CS c S1 S2 0 0 BRD c B1 0 B3 0 Dead M1d M2d M3d 1 The probability is dependent on previous state at stage = x. H1 = probability that the young dairy animal remains healthy in the next stage (one minus total incidence risk). S1 and B1 = probabilities that the healthy heifer will become diseased in the next stage (using incidence risk). S2 and B3 = assumed 10% repeated cases. 2. (1997).10/treatment 18/h 100/h 27/insemination 0. M2 and M3 = case fatality risk.80/heifer Veterinary expertise Veterinary expertise 36/treatment 5. 2001). The remaining stages (17–54) comprise intervals of 3 weeks. (2003.1. after 4 months of age. BW is described in this model as a continuous state variable with the use of a stochastic and continuous growth curve (see next section). corrected for the weight of any fetal tissue. Culling. and Gulliksen et al. 2009b) requiring time intervals of 1 week. navel ill. calf age and season.2. Model description 2. calf scours (CS). bovine respiratory disease (BRD) and dead). The first 16 stages correspond to intervals of 1 week to reflect the time span from 2 weeks until 4 months of age. can be the consequence of reproductive failure (see next section).20/heifer calf 7. States Within the model. Fodor et al. Estimates based on Bateman et al. Table 3 Transition matrix applied with respect to the health status comprising four states (healthy. (2006b). The BRD state was applied to the heifers with symptoms of calf pneumonia from 2 weeks to 3 months of age. calf scours (CS). Four states were defined (healthy. which is the result of a voluntary decision.. proportion of heifers that die within a specified age period). and Gulliksen et al. (2000) and Constable (2004). 2006a). Menzies et al. M1 was set equal to zero assuming only a diseased has the probability of death.17/1000 VEMa 1. b . (2009a).2. ranging from a minimum of 43 kg at birth to a maximum of 594 kg at calving.2.. Mohd Nor et al. c Estimates based on Perez et al. omphalophlebitis and umbilical infection from 2 weeks until 3 months of age. and. (2008). BW is the main state variable as it determines the development of the heifer calf and therefore the onset of puberty and subsequently the moment of first calving. 2. The CS state was applied to heifers that exhibit clinical symptoms of scours. (1990).60/treatment Authors expertise Authors expertise 186/treatment 62. bovine respiratory disease (BRD) and dead) to reflect the health condition of the simulated heifer. Hultgren et al. d Estimates based on Perez et al. In this model. and as BRD after 3 months of age: parasitic infections were excluded.650 kcal net energy. 1 VEM unit contains 1. (2008) Veterinary expertise CRV (2009) KWIN-V (2007) KWIN-V (2007) van Zessen (2005) LEI (2010) KWIN-V (2007) 28/carcass 55/carcass Rendac (2010) Rendac (2010) VEM unit is used in Dutch net energy system. Svensson et al. / Preventive Veterinary Medicine 106 (2012) 214–224 Table 2 Input prices for estimating the total cost of young dairy cattle rearing. The need for different intervals was due to the concentration of the incidence of diseases in the first 4 months of a calf’s life (Gulliksen et al. Busato et al. Input variable Prevention Dehorning at 10 weeks old Anthelmintic during a grazing season Farmer’s treatment Calf scours Bovine respiratory disease Veterinary treatment Calf scours Bovine respiratory disease Farmer’s labor Veterinarian labor Breeding Feed ration Milk replacer Barn Heifer calf at 2 weeks old Heifer at 20 months old Carcass removal Less than 1 year old More than 1 year old a Price (D ) Source 11. Stages The model consists of 54 stages.2.216 N. 3 week intervals to match the length of the estrus cycle. Only calf diseases that occur in the Netherlands and cause weight loss and death were included in the simulation model. (2009b). diarrhea. (1990). BRD was considered only to occur during the winter season (Van Der Fels-Klerx et al. The BW variable represents the actual live weight of the heifer. ‘death’ only occurred as a result of CS and BRD (Table 3). (1996). The healthy state was defined as a heifer that does not exhibit any clinical symptoms of disease. Svensson et al.

Heifers that reached first calving were defined as successfully reared heifers. 2001). 1996). respectively (Båge. 36% and 19% for 2nd. t = age (d). a. Seasonality was modeled to determine the time for anthelmintic treatment and IR of diseases. 2. By keeping the heifer calf. 5th and 6th AI. Since estrus detection started at 15 months (at minimum BW of 360 kg) and ended at 22 months of age.. At every stage. Van Der FelsKlerx et al. month of birth was determined by a uniform probability distribution (Table 1). the growth curve was lower than and parallel to the growth curve of a similar but healthy heifer. the model determined whether a heifer had successfully bred. km = maturation rate. Mohd Nor et al. For example. 1996) and were modeled using a normal distribution (Table 1). BRD caused a 30% 217 reduction in growth rate (Van Der Fels-Klerx et al. The PC from a previous diseased state is represented by H2 and H3. H1 represents the probability that the heifer remains healthy in the next stage. Transition between states within a Stage To calculate the young dairy cattle BW at each stage. By multiplying the potential growth rate (kg/day) of a healthy heifer with % disease-induced reduction in growth rate. ranging from 7 days for the diseases occurring before 3 months of age to 21 days for diseases occurring after 4 months of age. the heifer was culled because of reproductive failure. S1 and B1 describe the probabilities that the healthy heifer will become diseased in the next stage. it was assumed . Yt = a1 1 + e−km(t−b1 ) + a2 1 + e−km(t−b2 ) (1) where Yt = BW (kg) at age t (d).2 kg/d to meet the Dutch feeding recommendation and standards of 2008 (CVB. age at first the inflection point (b1 ) could occur between 150 days and 175 days and second inflection point (b2 ) could be between 520 and 570 days (Table 1). For an individual heifer. 3rd. 2009). a2 = asymptotic BW during the second phase (kg). When the simulated heifer was diseased (state CS or BRD) at stage x + 1 and then cured. As it was assumed that only a diseased heifer has a probability of dying.. 1996). Only a short term effect of reduction in growth rate was assumed to occur. To simulate seasonal impact. and were truncated at the minimum and maximum values around the mean (Table 1). b and km were based on the same study (Koenen and Groen. b and km values were similar at each stage. respectively (Virtala et al. the BW at stage x + 1 was calculated as the sum of BW at stage x plus growth rate that was reduced owing to the impact of the disease. growth loss (kg/day) was obtained. first calving age could vary between 24 and 31 months of age. probability of cure (PC). 2008). a1 = asymptotic BW during the first phase (kg). 2007). The level of reduction in growth rate was dependent on the type of disease and age (Virtala et al. the heifer could be diseased again in the next stage. These truncations gave a realistic BW and also ensured that the modeled growth rate was restricted to a maximum of 1.2. As a consequence. the estrus detection rate and the conception rate were used (see next section). the values for variables a. 61%. The complete overview of IR. Compensatory weight mechanisms were not taken into account after the heifer became healthy again. CS caused 10% reduction in growth rate (Virtala et al. 2003. 4th. It was assumed that there is 10% RC which is represented by S2 and B3. If a heifer was not pregnant at 22 months of age... For calf pneumonia. CFR and RC for all stages and states are presented in Table 3 and also in Table A1 of Appendix A. farmer’s treatment costs and veterinary treatment costs. All heifers infected with CS and BRD were treated by the farmer for two days. The costs included the costs for treatment and labor. The growth rate (kg/day) of a healthy heifer was determined directly from the growth function. Since the variables were stochastic. The conception rate for the first AI was 64% followed by 60%.. by subtracting the previous BW (stage x) from the current BW (stage x + 1). cyclic and pregnant). 2002b). using IR (Dohoo et al.. 2007). This growth function (Eq.N. An example of a transition matrix is given in Table 3.2. growth rate was reduced by 23% in the first month of age to 11% and 2% in the second and third months of age. 41%. Once healthy. Total healthcare costs include disease prevention costs. / Preventive Veterinary Medicine 106 (2012) 214–224 To reflect the reproduction condition of the simulated heifer. the farmer has reduced revenues equal to the price of a heifer calf at 2 weeks of age (D 55) (Table 2). M1 was set equal to zero. First calving age was 9 months after a successful breeding because it was assumed that abortion did not occur. PC. 1996. Unsuccessfully reared heifers were the ones that did not reach first calving age through death or reproductive failure.. M2 and M3 reflected the CFR which describes the proportion of heifers with a specific disease that die from it within a specified age period (Dohoo et al. After 4 months of age. To determine BW development for healthy young dairy cattle reared under Dutch general management conditions. case fatality risk (CFR) and repeated cases (RC) was built in order to adapt for the uncertainty of disease from 2 weeks until the age at first calving. a transition matrix combining the incidence risk (IR) of diseases. The prevention costs are based on the costs of dehorning and anthelmintic treatment (including labor costs from the veterinarian and the dairy farmer). or when AI was unsuccessful six times. Brickell et al. for a diseased heifer.3. (1)) is based on the summation of two sigmoidal curves that partly overlap. Labor costs are based on the amount of time spent on treating the heifer which was for CS 10 min per treatment and for BRD 2 min per treatment. each simulated heifer (replication) had different input values for the variables a. b1 = age at the first inflection point (d). and is calculated as one minus total IR. three states were defined (pre-pubertal.. In order to determine these states. By using discrete probability distributions for estrus detection (75%) and conception rate. For 25% of the CS cases and 10% of the BRD cases.4. 2. the model used the two-phase growth function based on the Dutch study of Koenen and Groen (1996). These values were independent of each other. Economic components A Dutch dairy farmer may decide to sell the heifer calf at 2 weeks of age or to keep the heifer calf for future replacement. b2 = age at the second inflection point (d). b and km to produce a different BW.

A heifer calf with a BW of more than 42 kg is fed five liters milk replacer per day until its BW reached 73 kg. (1990) Veterinary expertise −10% and +10% Authors expertise −20% and +20% −2 and +2 −10% and +10% CRV (2009) Authors expertise Inchaisri et al. Subsequently. nSuccess = number of successfully reared heifers.650 kcal net energy (Van Es.218 N. Validation and sensitivity analysis Since no data were available for external validation. One VEM unit contains 1.5. 2008). 7th. Sensitivity analyses were performed to Table 4 Inputs changed for sensitivity analysis in the model. VEM unit price was based on the concentrate (940 VEM/kg) price (Table 2). (1990). covering the energy requirements for maintenance and growth (CVB. (2010) −D 0. After 73 kg. (2003). varying with BW from 250 to 950 VEM per day.5 Authors expertise Authors expertise −5 and +5 −1 and +10 Authors expertise Authors expertise −15 and +15 −5 and 15 Veterinary expertise Veterinary expertise . (2009a) −10% and +10% −10% and +10% Bateman et al. The total costs of a successfully reared heifer were corrected for the number of heifers that did not successfully reach first calving age and were calculated as per Eq. Mohd Nor et al. In the following 2 days. nDead = number of dead heifers. These probabilities included the farmers’ willingness to call a veterinarian (Table 1) considering the labor costs of the veterinarian and the severity of the disease. respectively (CVB. All input prices used are in Table 2. there was an additional energy requirement during the grazing season.5% and +0. The VEM unit price was assumed to be reduced by 20% during the grazing season because there was substitution of concentrate and silage with fresh grass. the BW and average weight gain at each stage determined the feed energy units (VEM) required. The amount of time spent by the veterinarian for treating CS was 45 min per treatment and for BRD 5 min per treatment.5% Veterinary expertise Svensson et al. The model assumed feed rations to be balanced and took into account substitutions of hay. Besides growth and maintenance requirements. heifers at the 6th. A heifer calf with a BW less than 42 kg was fed with four liters of milk replacer per day. (2006a).04 and +D 0. the farmer continued the treatment for the next two days. 2. (2006a). 1150 and 1950 VEM per day. Veterinary expertise −20% and +20% −15% and +15% Perez et al. Svensson et al.2. treatment time was reduced to 10 min per treatment for CS and 1 min per treatment for BRD.62 (Table 2). nCulled = number of culled heifers. / Preventive Veterinary Medicine 106 (2012) 214–224 that the veterinarian was called and performed treatment. 2000b).5 and +0. Svensson et al. −D 2 and +D 2 Authors expertise LEI (2010) Authors expertise Authors expertise Excluding pasturing −0. an internal validation was performed. reduced to one liter after 78 kg. CS treatment requires more time compared to BRD treatment because. TCCulled = average total costs of culled heifer. Further. 1978)]. The price for one kg milk powder was D 1. which continued until weaning (Melkveehouderij. while for BRD only a parenteral treatment with antibiotics is required. Gulliksen et al. Inputs were compared to output to check for consistency and reliability of the model output.04 −D 29 and +D 27 −D 100 and +D 100 −D 18. (2009a) Perez et al. (2): TCSuccess + (TCDead × nDead ) + (TCCulled × nCulled ) nSuccess (2) where TCSuccess = average total costs of successfully reared heifer. and 2 min per heifer per day after weaning. (2006a). Farmer’s labor costs were based on the time needed to feed and inspect the calves. when treating for CS the heifer might need electrolyte treatment and intravenous drip. (1990). Gulliksen et al.700. Disease incidence risk Calf scours Bovine respiratory disease Case fatality risk Calf scours Bovine respiratory disease Repeated cases Bovine respiratory disease Calf scours Growth rate slow and fast a1 and a2 Reproduction Estrus detection rate Artificial insemination maximum number Conception rate Prices Concentrate Heifer calf Heifer Labor Others Non-grazing farm Labor efficiency (min/day) Farmer’s treatment time (min/treatment) Calf scours Bovine respiratory disease Veterinarian treatment time (min/treatment) Calf scours Bovine respiratory disease Input change Source −8% and +8% −0. TCDead = average total costs of dead heifer. 8th and 9th month of pregnancy had an additional energy requirement of 250. 2008) [VEM is the unit used in Dutch net energy systems for ruminants. This was estimated as 5 min per calf per day before weaning. the heifer calf was fed two liters of milk replacer per day. grass and concentrate in the ration. 2006). Svensson et al. After weaning. Weaning is after 10 weeks of age for a heifer calf with BW of more than 82 kg (Mourits et al.. During the grazing season it was assumed that labor was 1 min per calf per day. silage. which is cheaper.

198) 1520 (1427. The sensitivity analysis results of the non-economic values are presented in Table 7.1%) and breeding costs (2. 1715) 47d 1567e 55 2 (0. conception rate.5%). respectively. Increase in IR of CS by 8% increased the total cost by D 110 per successfully reared heifer. The 5–95% percentiles of average subtotal costs per successfully reared heifer varied from D 1427 to D 1715. growth rates.5%).2 months) and higher first calving weight (545 kg). 36) 14 (0. Results In total. categorized as successfully and unsuccessfully reared heifers (5% and 95% percentiles given in parentheses). Output Birth weight (kg) Weaning weight (kg) Age at first estrus (months) Weight at first estrus (kg) Artificial insemination Pregnancy age (months) Pregnancy weight (kg) First calving age (mo) First calving weight (kg) Culling age (months) Death age (d) a b 46 (44. to the total cost of rearing (Table 6). excluding pasture. 44) 274 (151. 150) 842 (736. (2). c The 1–99% percentiles are D 135–D 162.9%) Dead young dairy cattle (6. followed by IR of CS. On average. This was followed by labor costs (31. such as increasing the estrus detection Table 6 Average economic output values.5% (D 698). labor efficiency and treatment time (Table 4). Feed costs contributed the most. 145) 68 (21. Excluding pasturing (non-grazing farms) gave an additional total cost of D 92 per successfully reared heifer.8%). 36) 12 (0. 583) – – 55 24 (19. 394) 2 (1. An additional 6. The total cost of rearing was especially sensitive to labor efficiency. 186) 29 (28.1%) Culled heifer (3%) 55 27 9 (0.1% died prematurely (between 2 weeks until first calving) and 3% was culled because of reproductive failure. 81) – 180 (176. The variation in growth rate was defined as a ±10% increase of the growth function variables. Reducing the growth by 10% increased the average first calving age (27 months old) and lowered the average first calving weight (501 kg). 49) 82 (79. 16) 373 (361. birth weight was 46 kg. 1006) – – The 1–99% percentiles are D 28 to D 55. a b . healthcare costs (3. Reducing the labor time by ½ min per heifer per day resulted in the reduction of total cost by more than D 100 per successfully reared heifer. The difference in the average rearing cost between heifers that calved at 24 months and 30 months was almost D 400 per successfully reared heifer. estrus detection rates and IR of BRD. 3) 16 (15. For the calculation of losses refer to Eq. 90. 543) 419 (382. 219 Table 5 Average non-economic output values (5–95% percentiles given in parentheses). d The average loss per successfully reared heifer was calculated as the sum of average loss of dead young dairy cattle (D 19/successfully reared heifer) and culled heifer (D 28/successfully reared heifer). Mohd Nor et al. / Preventive Veterinary Medicine 106 (2012) 214–224 evaluate the varying effect of input parameters towards economic and non-economic output in young dairy cattle rearing. 533) 40 (27. 237) 0. Average costs (D ) Heifer calf price Prevention Farmer’s treatment Veterinary treatment Carcass removal Feed Labor Breeding Sales Barn Subtotal Average loss per successfully reared heifer Average total rearing cost Successfully reared heifer (90. 565) 20a (18.4 months old) at a higher first calving weight (additional 53 kg). The total cost of young dairy cattle rearing was D 1567 per successfully reared heifer and varied between D 1427 and D 1715 (Table 6). 210) Result is from culled heifer due to reproductive failure analysis. e The average total cost of successfully reared heifer’s 5–95% percentiles could not be determined because they were summed up with the average loss per successfully reared heifer. 21) 57b (28. 1. conception rates. 186) – 493 (440.3 (0. 778) 499 (475. The range is D 0–D 27.9% of the simulated young dairy cattle successfully reached first calving. growth rate reduction due to impact of diseases. Sensitivity analyses were performed for economic and non-economic input values (Table 4). and first calving occurred at 25 months of age with an average BW of 542 kg (Table 5). 27) 10 (0. 0)b – 9 (2. 186) – 698 (659. Reducing estrus detection by 20% caused an increase in the proportion of culled heifers to 3. 27) 542 (521. The results of the sensitivity analysis on the noneconomic input values are presented in Fig. 44.6% and also resulted in a higher age at first calving (25. 424) 25 (24. a1 and a2 . heifer calf costs (3. 449) 161 (162. growth rate.N. Increasing growth by 10% resulted in heifers that calved earlier (24.5%). 11) 32 (6. barn costs (11. The non-economic input values analyzed concerned the impact of disease probabilities. resulting in a reduced growth analysis (RG) and an increased growth (IG) analysis. number of AI allowed. 18) 382 (361. 28)a 34 (8. 3. Culling costs (D 28 on average per successfully reared heifer) and death costs (D 19 on average per successfully reared heifer) also contributed to the total cost. Result is from dead calf analysis. A sensitivity analysis was also performed for a non-grazing farm by disregarding the impact of grazing season on feed requirements and feed price (Table 2). 86) 15 (15. Better reproductive performance. Increasing and decreasing the IR of CS and BRD influenced the number of dead young dairy cattle. 72) 45 (0. estrus detection rate. 162)c −475 140 (129.

1 24.5% -150 -100 -50 0 50 100 150 Change in the total cost (€) of rearing Fig.9 3.1 25.5%.1 24.5 min = labor efficiency reduced 1/2 min per day.5min LE-0.4 3. RG = growth reduced by 10%. % Culled heifer Average first calving age (months) Average first calving weight (kg) 6.7 24.9 3.3 2.8 24. CR + 10% = conception rate increased 10%.5 3. CSIR-8% = calf scours incidence risk reduced 8%.4 3. The sensitivity of the total cost per successfully reared heifer to the economic input values is presented in Fig.1 24.6 542 −10% 5.6 542 +20% 11.6 542 −10% 5.7 542 542 542 +0. . 2.0 24. respectively.1 7. ED-20% = estrus detection reduced 20%.4 2.0 24.8 3.4 26.3 24.9 14.1 24.5 min = labor efficiency increased 1/2 min per day.7 24.9 3. 1.9 24.2 24. BRDIR + 0. The reduction in the labor cost by D 2 reduced the total cost by D 61 per successfully reared heifer.1 2. saved D 17 per successfully reared heifer while increasing conception rate by 10% saved D 30 per successfully reared heifer. ED + 20% = estrus detection increased 20%.2 24.0 24.7 543 +10% 6.220 N.5% increased the total cost by D 19 per successfully reared heifer.7 542 −15% 4. CSIR + 8% = calf scours incidence risk increased 8%.7 595 501 −20% +20% −10% +10% 6.1 3.5% 8. / Preventive Veterinary Medicine 106 (2012) 214–224 Table 7 Sensitivity of the non-economic output for different changes in input values.3 24. LE-0.7 542 +10% 6. NGF = non-grazing farm.7 542 +10% −10% 5. labor costs are D 0) reduced the total cost by D 520 per successfully reared heifer.7 542 +15% 7.3 6.2 24. LE + 0.7 542 −20% 2. IG = growth increased by 10%.1 1.5 546 540 543 541 Input change Default situation Disease Calf scours incidence risk Calf scours incidence risk Bovine respiratory disease incidence risk Bovine respiratory disease incidence risk Calf scours case fatality risk Calf scours case fatality risk Bovine respiratory disease case fatality risk Bovine respiratory disease case fatality risk Calf scours repeated cases Calf scours repeated cases Bovine respiratory disease repeated cases Bovine respiratory disease repeated cases Growing Increased growth Reduced growth Reproduction Estrus detection Estrus detection Conception rate Conception rate % Dead young dairy cattle rate (20%).7 3.2 3.5% = bovine respiratory disease incidence risk increased by 0.8 4.0 3. Considering no opportunity costs for the farmer’s own labor (i. CR-10% = conception rate reduced 10%.5min CSIR+8% CSIR-8% NGF CR-10% CR+10% IG RG ED-20% ED+20% BRDIR+0. LE+0.5% 1.1 6.2 5. Increase in the IR of BRD by 0. Mohd Nor et al.1 3. Sensitivity of the total cost of rearing per successfully reared heifer for different non-economic input. The results also showed that reducing and increasing the growth by 10% resulted in additional costs of D 41 and D 43 per successfully reared heifer.e.9 6.2 3.7 542 −8% +8% −0.9 24.1 3.

resulting in first calving ages varying from 22 months to 36 months (Mourits et al. lower rearing costs could be expected if the heifers are bred earlier. 2009)). For instance. CP-20 = heifer calf price reduced D 20. and therefore could have been bred at that age. a field veterinarian confirmed that these inputs are applicable for the Dutch situation. HP + 100 = heifer price increased D 100. stressing the difference in production circumstances in comparison to the Dutch situation.. Discussion The average total cost of rearing young dairy cattle was estimated as D 1567 per successfully reared heifer (Table 6). variations have also been included in the data. the average total cost of rearing was D 1047 per successfully reared heifer. calves with improved nutritional status in the first 2–3 weeks of age have a higher growth rate and are better able to withstand infectious challenges and produce more milk in the first lactation (Drackley. our use of a stochastic and continuous growth curve has several advantages.. 2005. There are no studies known by the authors that measured the actual growth curve of diseased heifers from birth until first calving. first calving age and weight. In our study. first calving age and first calving weight can have a significant impact on milk production in the first lactation (Zanton and Heinrichs. The simulated average age of 25 months is lower than what has been observed in practise (average Dutch heifer first calving age is 26 months (CRV. 2011). while in practise this range is larger and more skewed (Mourits et al. 2. So. growth rates and first calving age that fall within established values (Zanton and Heinrichs. In this study. CP + 27 = heifer calf price increased D 27. (1996) and Van Der Fels-Klerx et al. / Preventive Veterinary Medicine 106 (2012) 214–224 221 Conc+0. Based on the simulation results. the total costs were estimated between D 907 and D 1134 for Dutch circumstances (Mourits et al. In addition. to reflect practise. these gave an accurate estimation of the total cost of rearing. Sensitivity of the total cost of rearing per successfully reared heifer for different input prices. feed costs.04 LC+2 LC-2 CP+27 CP-20 HP+100 HP-100 -200 -150 -100 -50 0 50 100 150 200 Change in the total cost (€) of rearing Fig. Consequently. Many studies have shown that growth rate.04. In most studies. when growth was increased by 10%.04 Conc-0. Firstly. the growth curve is based on actual data in the Netherlands. respectively. Le . This is due to the limited calving age range (24–27 months). However. Conc + 0. not taking inflation rate into account. a 10% increase in growth resulted in additional feed costs as breeding was unnecessarily postponed until the age of 15 months. and was estimated as D 714 and D 788 (including labor costs) for custom operations and milking operations. Furthermore. The effect of growth rate.. and extreme values were not taken into account. 2000b). with 10% increase in growth. 2005). HP-100 = heifer price reduced D 100. labor costs were excluded. it was assumed within the model that breeding did not occur before the age of 15 months. Furthermore. 4. Because the growth curve settings were flexible. it was decided that the diseased growth curve should run below and parallel to the potential healthy growth curve. LC-2 = labor costs reduced D 2. Conc-0.N. first calving age. it was possible to evaluate the costs at different growth rates (Fig. Previously.04. Mohd Nor et al. Within these costs. 1). The estimated total cost of rearing in the US (Gabler et al. (2002a)]. Svensson and Hultgren. However. Heinrichs and Heinrichs. which was not detailed enough for this model.04 = concentrate price increased D 0. In addition. our model simulated heifer calves under good rearing conditions. In contrast. and first calving weight on first lactation milk production was not included in this model. Secondly. as reduction in growth after being diseased can persist until first calving (Smith. 2000b). 2005. when labor costs were excluded. dairy farmers in practise breed their heifers before 15 months of age and breed more than six times when necessary. Consequently. Therefore.. 2008. 2000) was lower. LC + 2 = labor costs increased D 2. for a complete economic picture these effects need to be taken into account. especially as farmers are aiming at optimizing milk production. The growth curve used in the model we developed has successfully determined the age for weaning and breeding. The simulated calves in our model show values for BW. the heifer reached the minimal breeding weight (which was 360 kg in our model) on average at 13 months of age (data not shown). 1998) [The inputs on growth rate reduction were from Virtala et al. calving occurred on average at the age of 25 months (Table 5). 2000b). BW in diseased heifers was measured at a certain age or at first calving. breeding was started not earlier than at 15 months of age and AI was allowed up to six times.04 = concentrate price reduced D 0.

although in reality these diseases can occur together (Van Der Fels-Klerx et al. 199–203.. Labor costs were estimated to be D 18 per hour (Huijps et al. Am. the calf mortality within 24 h of birth and at the first week of age are 6. the model developed is a detailed. Ahedo. with mortality occurring on average at 57 days of age.9% (Harbers et al. it is assumed that only one disease occurs in one stage. Beam et al.. Reprod.. cost price of milk of D 0. to some extent. 2002a). 117–138. . 2008. N. many thanks to Dr Mirjam Nielen. In addition. Appendix A. 38. The mortality risk from 2 weeks until first calving was 6%. 2008. for instance. However.. it will be necessary to explore the consequences of transmission of diseases between young dairy cattle. 1997)... Dutch farms are mainly family businesses. / Preventive Veterinary Medicine 106 (2012) 214–224 Cozler et al. good herd health management was assumed. 2009a).. Secondly. Acknowledgments The authors would like to acknowledge Malaysian Higher Ministry of Education (MOHE) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). According to previous studies.6%) (Nielsen et al. Hence. Thus they will estimate the total cost of rearing lower than our estimation of D 1567 per successfully reared heifer. 2008). which will be the topic of future work. Therefore. Also.. These results can be explained by the inputs used and the assumptions made. Ing Paul Dobbelaar and Dr Harm Ploeger.8%) (Gulliksen et al. 2002a). this value is high enough for dairy farmers to become more aware of the economic importance of replacement rearing. 2000) and 2.. Utrecht University for their expertise.. and therefore the level of opportunity costs due to additional labor differs among farms. References Bach.. the reductions in growth rate for CS and BRD before 3 months of age are extremely low (Virtala et al. Conclusion A stochastic model was developed to estimate the total cost and distribution of costs during the rearing of young dairy cattle. 3%). 1986. R. 1996. Domest. the duration of the diseases is confined to a single stage. disease costs can be rather high while their contribution to the average total cost is minor (Table 6). 2010).300 kg milk per herd per year (LEI.. 2009). J. A. Båge. useful tool in calculating the total cost of rearing young dairy cattle. the model did not include disease outbreaks. This showed that calf health is important and reducing the incidence of disease can lower the total cost of rearing. demonstrates that the total cost of rearing contributes approximately 13% to the cost price of milk. Hence. Pract. In our opinion. Also. from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine... Farmers can benefit from the awareness it provides to start prioritizing and changing rearing management accordingly to improve the profitability of their farm. be underestimated as a consequence of the assumptions made. the effect of the diseases on later stages of rearing period on age at first calving were ambiguous and the short term effects of growth on later breeding were not clear (WaltnerToews et al. Clin. respectively. 2). Overall. 2005). 1996) and the maximum growth that occurs between 3 months and 7 months could ‘compensate’ for the loss before the age of 3 months. Thirdly. although an increase in the IR of diseases increased the total cost of young stock rearing. In reality this is not conclusive because no study has been made of a compensatory weight mechanism after young dairy cattle have been diseased (Van Der Fels-Klerx et al.. Record keeping and economics of dairy heifers. Dr IJmert de Vries. However. 2008).466/kg and a production of 795.4%) (Losinger and Heinrichs. Van Der Fels-Klerx et al. 2010)). 1990).. There was an increase in the total rearing costs by more than D 100 per successfully reared heifer when IR of CS was increased (Fig. for an individual diseased heifer. Vet. Most Dutch farmers who work on their own farm perceived the opportunity costs of labor as zero. The total cost of rearing contributed approximately 13% to the cost price of milk. Malaysia for the funding of this project. Combining the results on total cost (D 1567 per successfully reared heifer) and first calving age (25 months) with the general characteristics of a standardized Dutch dairy farm (100-cow herd. Anim.222 N.. disinfecting the navel appropriately after birth. which includes. Fourthly. which would imply that no negative impacts can be expected for milk production capacity. this contribution will. Firstly. The total cost of rearing was D 1567 per successfully reared heifer and varied between D 1423 and D 1715. feeding colostrum at an appropriate time in enough quantity and providing a conducive environment for the young stock to grow (Bach and Ahedo. But this is a result of excluding the mortality in the first 2 weeks of life. 2003. 2002a). Virtala et al. Mohd Nor et al. Conception rates after AI in Swedish red and white dairy heifers: relationship with progesterone concentrations at AI. See Table A1. the results of the sensitivity analysis showed that a change in disease inputs did not affect first calving age and first calving weight (Table 7). This value indicates the necessities for farmers to be more aware of the economic consequences of rearing young dairy cattle in their dairy enterprise. 24.. for an individual diseased heifer.3% (Perez et al. accidents and dystocia). 5. and death did not occur because of other diseases or conditions (e. Food Anim. 29% dairy cow replacement. The total cost of rearing a heifer that experienced disease at least once (20% of simulated heifers) was on average D 95 higher than that of heifers that are not infected at all (data not shown). Such consequences can be modeled in a herd-level model. which is only 7 days before 3 months of age. treatment before 4 months of age for both CS and BRD showed a positive effect on height of withers (Heinrichs et al. The cost of rearing a heifer that experienced disease at least once (20% of simulated heifers) was on average D 95 higher than that of uninfected heifers. while the relative contribution to the average rearing cost for a standard Dutch dairy farm is low (approx. disease costs can be rather high. Denmark (8. and Norway (7. For Dutch circumstances. The mortality is lower than in the US (9.g.

082 0. N. P.9942 0.74 0.61 0.26 0.0062 0.M.64 0.10 0..0003 0. 408–416. M.71 0.9107 0.26 0. Calf health monitoring in Norwegian dairy herds.71 0. Hicks.10 0.16 0.80 0.73 0.26 a The incidence after 91 days during other seasons is zero. S.17 0.10 0.0039 0.67 0.17 0.73 0.0058 0.9910 0.26 0.26 0.16 0. Vet. J.9997 0. 2009.M. Beam. Gaillard.0034 0.19 0.0003 0..9961 0.. Theriogenology 72..9935 0.80 0. M.. H.19 0. W.71 0. In: Garnsworthy.0034 0.0041 0. incidence risk for bovine respiratory disease (B1) in healthy young dairy cattle.19 0..9997 0.086 0. Østerås. Gulliksen. T.23 0.G. Vet. A. J. Winter. S. P.0045 0.10 0..9957 0.E.0015 0..26 0.67 0.0033 0. J.0055 0.64 0.0003 0. CRV. Tozer.74 0. 213–235.9963 0. Fodor. A.18 0.K. CVB. Dohoo.9886 0..0037 0.M. Can.I.16 0.19 0. P. pp. C. 8–17.pdf (accessed on 1.0038 0... Lie.003 0.9997 0.9961 0.C.9997 0.17 0.64 0. 9–22.29 0.74 0. Prevalence of failure of passive transfer of immunity in newborn heifer calves and associated management practices on US dairy operations.64 0.0039 0.73 0.E.0003 0.64 0.9945 0. Østerås. pp.0003 0.. 2009. The Netherlands.P.0003 0. K.T. J. 194–200. CRV Holding BV.0003 0.23 0.W.9997 0. A.9997 0.. Early growth effects on subsequent health and performance of dairy heifers.I.30 0. I.9985 0.0039 0.30 0. 18.71 0.26 0.. In: Buiting.67 0.9997 0.. Intern. CRV Jaarstatistieken Nederland (in Dutch).S. J. J. Measures of Disease Frequency.0003 0.9997 0. Stryhn. Martin. case fatality risk for bovine respiratory disease (M3).0039 0. 31.26 0. A. C.L.67 0. 68–75..80 0..26 0. Brickell.73 0.64 0.71 0.0023 0. K. Nottingham. Canada. O.19 0.. Reeve-Johnson. / Preventive Veterinary Medicine 106 (2012) 214–224 223 Table A1 Transition matrix combining probabilities and risks. D.0003 0. Constable. 2009a.71 0.64 0.26 0.74 0. Prince Edward Island. Veterinary Epidemiologic Research. McGowan. 1660–1669.0002 0. 1990.N.10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0. Wathes.0003 0. S. J. 92. Bourne.17 0.74 0. 2009. A. Lie. Drackley. Med.9942 0.74 0.0039 0.. Garber. Calf health in cow-calf herds in Switzerland.0003 0..80 0.9956 0. 92. O.9966 0.002 0... Vet.9938 0.002 0. 159.60 0.64 0.0078 0.D.16 0. (Ed.80 0.26 0.0070 0.71 0.. An evaluation of antimicrobial therapy for undifferentiated bovine respiratory disease..23 0.0093 0..78 0.74 0.9956 0.60 0.0037 0.. L. J.9997 0.9965 0.74 0. Shewen. Menzies.). Vet.16 0.19 0.10 0.74 0. J. J. pp.9997 0.M..10). J.16 0.9997 0. 2004.10 0..0039 0..26 0.9961 0.A.67 0.. P.64 0. Løken.I. 2000.9949 0. Dairy Sci.R. S. Lombard.9102 0. 12–17.0035 0.0003 0.. 689–696. (Ed.0039 0. Med.9929 0..0003 0. Kopral.64 0. Mohd Nor et al.71 0.80 0. .003 0.80 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0.19 0.. L.0003 0.J.19 0. Heinrichs.71 0. Age (d) H1 S1 B1a H2 M2 H3 M3 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 77 84 91 98 105 112 119 126 147 168 189 210 231 252 273 294 315 336 357 378 399 420 441 462 483 504 525 546 567 588 609 630 651 672 693 714 735 756 0. L.).71 0.9967 0.26 0. Martin.C. Dairy Sci. incidence risk for calf scours (S1) in healthy young dairy cattle. 2782–2795.72 0.64 0.64 0.30 0. Development of a cost analysis spreadsheet for calculating the costs to raise a replacement dairy heifer.0036 0.. P.9961 0. J.64 0. Prev.A.9961 0.002 0.0048 0. 2008.9961 0. 92.16 0. 1104–1109.0034 0.19 0.nl/downloads/ jaarverslagen/crv-jaarstatistieken-2009. Schlater.9103 0.9952 0.. 30. 83. 2009b. L. 2007.9934 0.0074 0.001 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.080 0.16 0.0090 0.9997 0. Varga.9998 0.9997 0. J.12 0. 3973–3980. Efficacy evaluations of the use of oral tilmicosin in pneumonic calves. case fatality risk for calf scours (M2). Bateman.19 0. feeding advices and nutritional values of feed ingredients. Effect of growth and development during the rearing period on the subsequent fertility of nulliparous Holstein-Friesian heifers. 1997.78 0. Arnhem.L. Gabler.60 0.64 0.16 0.19 0.. the probability of cure when infected with calf scours (H2) and the probability of cure when infected with bovine respiratory disease (H3) adapted in the presented model for the winter season (indoor feeding regime). K.23 0.0051 0.9997 0. Table Booklet Feeding of Ruminants.9930 0.23 0. Gulliksen. Shoukri. AVC Inc.12 0. Steiner.. Busato.L. Nottingham University Press.001 0. J. Martin.2.crv4all. CVB.26 0. Probability of remaining healthy (H1) in healthy young dairy cattle. Feeding standards. Calf mortality in Norwegian dairy herds. Dairy Sci.71 0. Product Board Animal Feed. http://www. Dairy Sci.. Hodge.9997 0. M.9961 0.004 0. 2000.0003 0. Antimicrobial use in the treatment of calf diarrhea.W.. 2005. Calf and Heifer Rearing.

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