Salmonella Dublin affects production and animal health in cattle herds. The objective of this study was to quantify the gross margin (GM) losses following introduction and spread of S. Dublin within dairy herds. The GM losses were estimated using an age-structured stochastic, mechanistic and dynamic simulation model. The model incorporated six age groups (neonatal, pre-weaned calves, weaned calves, growing heifers, breeding heifers and cows) and five infection stages (susceptible, acutely infected, carrier, super shedder and resistant). The effects of introducing one S. Dublin infectious heifer were estimated through 1000 simulation iterations for 12 scenarios. These 12 scenarios were combinations of three herd sizes (85, 200 and 400 cows) and four management levels (very good, good, poor and very poor). Input parameters for effects of S. Dublin on production and animal health were based on literature and calibrations to mimic real life observations. Mean annual GMs per cow stall were compared between herds experiencing within-herd spread of S. Dublin and non-infected reference herds over a 10-year period. The estimated GM losses were largest in the first year after infection, and increased with poorer management and herd size, e.g. average annual GM losses were estimated to 49 euros per stall for the first year after infection, and to 8 euros per stall annually averaged over the 10 years after herd infection for a 200 cow stall herd with very good management. In contrast, a 200 cow stall herd with very poor management lost on average 326 euros per stall during the first year, and 188 euros per stall annually averaged over the 10-year period following introduction of infection. The GM losses arose from both direct losses such as reduced milk yield, dead animals, treatment costs and abortions as well as indirect losses such as reduced income from sold heifers and calves, and lower milk yield of replacement animals. Through sensitivity analyses it was found that the assumptions about milk yield losses for cows in the resistant or carrier stages had the greatest influence on the estimated GM losses. This was more influential in the poorer management scenarios due to increased number of infected cows. The results can be used to inform dairy farmers of the benefits of preventing introduction and controlling spread of S. Dublin. Furthermore, they can be used in cost-benefit analyses of control actions for S. Dublin both at herd and sector level.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 2013, Vol 111, Issue 1-2, p. 51-62