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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

The costs of chronic mastitis: A simulation study of an automatic milking system farm

Bonestroo, John; Fall, Nils; Hogeveen, Henk; Emanuelson, Ulf; Klaas, Ilka Christine; van der Voort, Mariska


Mastitis is a production disease in dairy farming that causes economic losses. Especially chronic mastitis (i.e., mastitis cases continuing longer than 28 days) can substantially affect the risk of transmission of intramammary infections (IMI) and total milk production losses. Insights into the impact of chronic mastitis on production and farm economics are needed to guide chronic mastitis decision-making. We aimed to estimate the costs of chronic mastitis with a Monte Carlo simulation model in which the costs of chronic mastitis were estimated as part of the total mastitis costs. The model simulated milk yields, IMI dynamics, somatic cell count (SCC), and pregnancy status on an average Dutch dairy farm with 100 cow places over 9 years. The model was parameterized using information from the literature and actual sensor data from automatic milking system (AMS) farms. The daily subclinical milk production losses were modeled using a generalized additive model and sensor data. Transmission of IMI was modeled as well. The model results indicated median total costs of mastitis of euro 230 per generic IMI case (i.e., a weighted average of all pathogens). The most substantial cost factors were the extra mastitis cases due to transmission, culling, and milk production losses. Other significant costs originated from dry cow treatments and diverted milk. The model also indicated median total costs due to chronic mastitis of euro 118 (51 % of the total mastitis costs). The share of chronic mastitis relative to the total mastitis costs was substantial. Transmission of contagious bacteria had the largest share among the chronic mastitis costs (51 % of the costs of chronic cases). The large share of chronic mastitis costs in the total mastitis costs indicates the economic importance of these mastitis cases. The results of the study point to the need for future research to focus on chronic mastitis and reducing its presence on the AMS dairy farm.


Monte Carlo; Simulation model; Mastitis; Chronic; Automated milking system

Published in

Preventive Veterinary Medicine
2023, volume: 210, article number: 105799
Publisher: ELSEVIER

Authors' information

Bonestroo, John
DeLaval International AB
Bonestroo, John
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
Bonestroo, John
Wageningen University and Research
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
Hogeveen, Henk
Wageningen University and Research
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
van der Voort, Mariska
Wageningen University and Research

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science

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