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Disposal and disease rates in 340 British dairy herds
  1. D. A. Whitaker, VetMB, MVSc, MRCVS1,
  2. J. M. Kelly, BVM&S, MRCVS1 and
  3. S. Smith, BSc1
  1. 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies, University of Edinburgh, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG


Data derived from 340 dairy herds, mainly in southern England, between April 1998 and March 1999, showed that the average total culling rate was 22.1 per cent, with 5.6 per cent for infertility, 3.6 per cent for mastitis, 1.7 per cent for lameness, 2.0 per cent for poor milk yield, 3.7 per cent for age and 5.5 per cent for miscellaneous reasons which included death. The average annual rate of assisted calvings was 8.7 per cent, of injury 0.9 per cent, digestive disease 1.3 per cent, ketosis 0.4 per cent, hypomagnesaemia 0.7 per cent, hypocalcaemia 5.3 per cent, mastitis 36.6 per cent, and lameness 23.7 per cent. There was a significant association (P<0.001) between higher rates of mastitis in cows housed in straw yards as opposed to cubicles and also between higher rates of lameness in cows housed in cubicles as opposed to yards (P<0.015). However, there were farms with low rates of mastitis in cows kept in straw yards and low rates of lameness in cows kept in cubicles. Larger herds tended to have more problems with lameness and higher bulk milk somatic cell counts (BMscc). There was a positive association between BMScc and mastitis rate.

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