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In-farm cost of an outbreak of diarrhoea in lambs

Mariano, V., Nardi, A., Moruzzo, R., Di Iacovo, F.P., Rossignoli, C.M.
Small ruminant research 2018 v.166 pp. 17-21
animal diseases, dairy sheep, diarrhea, disease outbreaks, farmers, farms, herds, income, lambs, livestock and meat industry, milk production, mortality, prices, production costs, profits and margins, slaughterhouses, weight gain, Italy
This article analyses the cost of diarrhoea in lambs on dairy sheep farms located in Grosseto (Italy). Farmers’ profits have recently declined due to a stable product price but increasing production costs. Animal diseases have a cascade of effects on farm productivity. Lamb enteric disease outbreaks, which result in mortality in the herd and reduced weight gain, can drastically compromise the income of farmers. An economic analysis of the impact of an outbreak of diarrhoea in lambs was thus performed, evaluating the cost of disease based on the main visible production losses (such as mortality, reduced weight gain and variation in milk production). A sensitivity analysis was also conducted by applying different observed ranges of prevalence and mortality associated with the disease. Finally, an economic scenario analysis was performed, considering different in-farm management options for delivering lambs to the abattoir, i.e. early, standard and late delivery. The results showed that a dairy sheep farm with around 300 lambs that delivers them to the abattoir at 30 days of age would experience a loss of between 50 and 1200 Euro during an outbreak of diarrhoea with a prevalence of 34.21 (23.54–44.88)% and a mortality of 15.69 (9.98–21.4)%.