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ACHIEVING a margin over investment in dairy production is exceptionally challenging and is likely to remain so in coming years. Regular veterinary input on dairy farms, frequently structured around a routine visit to assist with fertility management, is common in the UK. In addition to this service, cattle veterinarians are asked to provide analysis and advice on improving herd management to minimise disease occurrence and optimise production. Knowledge and understanding of the long-term production losses associated with clinical and subclinical disease are required to facilitate provision of this service and to positively influence on-farm decision-making.
Scientific knowledge is increasing rapidly in this area. Several studies published recently have quantified production or reproductive losses associated with calf health and nutrition (Moallem and others 2010, Soberon and others 2012), transition cow disease (Ribeiro and others 2013), lameness (Booth and others 2004, Bicalho and others 2008, Oikonomou and others 2013) and dry cow nutrition (Cardoso and others 2013). Production losses that occur secondary to clinical and subclinical mastitis have been reported for many years and it is recognised as one of the most important diseases in dairy production (Halasa and others 2007). It is an area where veterinary input is particularly highly …
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