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Does clinical mastitis in the first 100 days of lactation 1 predict increased mastitis occurrence and shorter herd life in dairy cows?
- Hertl, J.A., Schukken, Y.H., Tauer, L.W., Welcome, F.L., Gröhn, Y.T.
- Journal of dairy science 2018 v.101 no.3 pp. 2309-2323
- Holstein, Poisson distribution, calving, dairy cows, farmers, farms, herds, lactation, mastitis, statistical models, New York
- The objectives of this study were to estimate the direct effects of clinical mastitis (CM) occurring in early productive life (defined as the first 100 d of the first lactation) of Holstein dairy cows on the future rate of CM occurrence and on the length of total productive lifetime. Information on CM cases and other data occurring in 55,144 lactations in 24,831 cows in 5 New York State Holstein herds was collected from January 2004 until February 2014. For the first objective, a generalized linear mixed model with a Poisson distribution was used to study the effects of CM cases occurring in the first 100 d of a cow's first lactation, as well as farm indicator and number of days in the cow's lifetime, on the future lifetime rate of CM. Only cows that had completed their productive life [i.e., all had been culled (or sold) or had died; n = 14,440 cows] were included in this analysis. For the second objective, a Cox proportional hazards model was used to study the effects of CM cases occurring in the first 100 d of a cow's first lactation on the length of total productive lifetime. The model was stratified by farm. All 24,831 cows were included in this analysis with right censoring. Cows experienced between 0 and 4 CM cases in the first 100 d of lactation 1. Over their lifetime, cows experienced between 0 and 25 CM cases. During the study period, 10% of all cows died and nearly half of all cows were culled. The average length of productive life, including censored observations, was 2.0 yr after first calving. Compared with cows having no CM cases in the first 100 d of lactation 1, cows with 1 CM case in that time period had a 1.5 times higher rate of total number of CM cases over their lifetime. Cows with 2 (or 3 or more) CM cases in the first 100 d of lactation 1 had a 1.7 times (or 2.6 times) higher rate of total number of CM cases over their lifetime. For each additional CM case occurring in the first 100 d of lactation 1, the hazard rate of culling increased by 34%. Given economic conditions for preferentially culling mastitic cows, the study findings may help farmers make optimal decisions with regard to culling of such cows.