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Review article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Review: Linking animal health measures in dairy cows to farm-level economic outcomes: a systematic literature mapping

af Sandeberg, A.; Bage, R.; Nyman, A. -K.; Agenas, S.; Hansson, H.


Farm animal health is an area of increasing interest to both the public and industry stakeholders. There is an ongoing debate on whether improving animal health, and thereby increasing welfare, is profitable or not. Improving animal health often requires investments in the farm or increases labour costs. As a result, the impact of animal health on farm economy is particularly interesting. This study systematically maps and assesses the available evidence in the published scientific literature regarding the link between farms' economic outcomes on dairy cow health, with the aim of identifying knowledge gaps in this field of research. In total, 59 peer-reviewed articles were included using a broad range of animal health variables and economic outcomes. We found a heterogeneous body of evidence in terms of both methods, animal health measures (AHMs) and economic outcome measures used. None of the included studies makes explicit causal claims between AHMs and economic outcomes. The results suggest that common production diseases such as clinical mastitis and lameness, which are painful and affect cow health and welfare, are costly for farmers. We found a knowledge gap and lack of evidence on the impact of animal health interventions on farms' economic outcomes, as well as the long-term effects of such interventions. Future research should aim to investigate the causal links between animal health and economic outcomes.(c) 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of The Animal Consortium. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (


Cattle; Economics; Herd profitability; Production disease; Well-being

Published in

2023, Volume: 17, number: 10, article number: 100971
Publisher: ELSEVIER