Examining the impact of mastitis on the profitability

Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research 52: 135–149, 2013

Examining the impact of mastitis on the profitability of the Irish dairy industry

U. Geary 1† , N. Lopez-Villalobos 2 , B. O’Brien 1 , D.J. Garrick 2 and L. Shalloo 1 1 Livestock Systems Research Department, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland 2 Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Mastitis was identified as a priority disease within the Irish dairy industry by both dairy farmers and industry animal health experts, which led to the development of the CellCheck programme. In order to support this programme it was necessary to understand the extent to which mastitis affects farm profit, processor returns and ultimately industry profitability. To this end, an analysis of the impact of mastitis on farm, processor and the overall industry profitability was carried out. The impact of mastitis on farm costs, farm receipts and farm profitability is presented across a range of bulk milk somatic cell count (SCC) categories from <100,000 to >400,000 cells/mL. A meta-analysis of the relationship between SCC and raw milk composition, cheese processing characteristics and cheese composition was carried out and utilised to establish the impact of mastitis on processor returns. As SCC increased, the impact of mastitis on the volume of product that could be produced, net processor returns, milk price and the values per kg of fat and protein were calculated. The farm and proces- sor analysis were then combined to estimate the impact of mastitis on the Irish dairy industry returns, accounting for both farm and processor costs. The analysis suggests that as cell count reduced from >400,000 to <100,000 cells/mL, overall returns to the farm should increase by 4.8 c/L, including the farm and processor related effects. Nationally, if the cell count was reduced by 10%, it would be worth € 37.6 million for the Irish dairy industry.

Keywords: costs; dairy industry; economics; mastitis; somatic cell count

†Corresponding author: Una Geary, Tralee, Co. Kerry; Tel: +353 86 358 4629; Fax: +353 25 42340; E-mail: una.geary@hotmail.com

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