The cost of mastitis in Canadian dairy herds

On average, mastitis costs Canada’s 12,000 dairy farmers CAD$660 million each year…


Around the world, dairy farmers face considerable financial loss due to mastitis. And while most farmers know the direct cost of treatment, many do not consider the overall implications, including the added cost of prevention, treatment, reduced milk production, culling and discarded milk. Until recently, these costs had not been evaluated in Canada. This year, however, Dr. David Kelton, Dr. Herman Barkema, Dr. Simon Dufour and their colleagues published a new study, Herd-Level Mastitis-Associated Costs on Canadian Dairy Farms, in Frontiers. Dr. Simon Dufour explained the results of the study in a recent interview.

In 2015, a group of Canadian university researchers and the Canadian Bovine Mastitis and Milk Quality Research Network conducted a study to estimate herd-level costs incurred by expenditures and production losses associated with mastitis on Canadian dairy farms. The study was based on 145 producer surveys.

For each herd, the researchers calculated a proportion of the costs attributable to the specific mastitis-related components by dividing absolute costs for each component by total herd mastitis-related costs. Each year, the average Canadian farm suffers 19 cases of clinical mastitis for every 100 cows. Somatic cell count averages 180,000 cells/ml.

Overall, mastitis costs are substantial, Dr. Dufour said in a recent interview. On a typical Canadian dairy farm, mastitis costs $662 per milking cow per year. Of that, 48 per cent is

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