The prevalence of Pasteurella multocida, a cause of bovine respiratory disease, was studied in a random sample of beef suckler and dairy farms throughout Scotland, by means of a cross-sectional survey. A total of 637 calves from 68 farms from six geographical regions of Scotland were sampled between February and June 2008. Deep nasal swabs were taken, and samples that were culture-positive for P multocida were confirmed by PCR. Prevalence of P multocida was 17 per cent (105 of 616 calves); 47 per cent of farms had at least one positive animal. A higher prevalence was detected in dairy calves than beef calves (P=0.04). It was found that P multocida was associated with Mycoplasma-like organisms (P=0.06) and bovine parainfluenza type 3 virus (BPI-3) (P=0.04), detected by culture and quantitative PCR of nasal swabs, respectively. Detection of P multocida was not associated with bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BoHV-1) or bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV). Mycoplasma-like organisms, BPI-3, BRSV, BoHV-1 and BVDV were detected in 58, 17, four, 0 and eight calves, on 25, five, two, 0 and five of the 68 farms, respectively.