J Dairy Sci. 2021 Mar 5:S0022-0302(21)00243-5. doi: 10.3168/jds.2020-19366. Online ahead of print.
The objectives of this study were to (1) use partial budget analysis to estimate the cash impact for herds that switch from blanket dry cow therapy (BDCT) to culture- or algorithm-guided selective dry cow therapy (SDCT) and (2) conduct a sensitivity analysis to investigate effects in situations where SDCT increased clinical and subclinical mastitis risk during the subsequent lactation. A partial budget model was created using Monte Carlo simulation with @Risk software. Expenditures associated with dry-off procedures and health outcomes (clinical and subclinical mastitis) during the first 30 d in milk were used to model herd-level effects, expressed in units of US dollars per cow dry-off. Values for each economic component were derived from findings from a recent multisite clinical trial, peer-reviewed journal articles, USDA databases, and our experiences in facilitating the implementation of SDCT on farms. Fixed values were used for variables expected to have minimal variation within the US dairy herd population (e.g., cost of rapid culture plates) and sampling distributions were used for variables that were hypothesized to vary enough to effect the herd net cash impact of one or more DCT approach(es). For Objective 1, herd-level udder health was assumed to be unaffected by the implementation of SDCT. For culture-guided SDCT, producers could expect to save an average of +$2.14 (-$2.31 to $7.23 for 5th and 95th percentiles) per cow dry-off as compared with BDCT, with 75.5% of iterations being ≥$0.00. For algorithm-guided SDCT, the mean net cash impact was +$7.85 ($3.39-12.90) per cow dry-off, with 100% of iterations being ≥$0.00. The major contributors to variance in cash impact for both SDCT approaches were percent of quarters treated at dry-off and the cost of dry cow antibiotics. For Objective 2, we repeated the partial budget model with the 30-d clinical and subclinical mastitis incidence increasing by 1, 2, and 5% (i.e., risk difference = 0.01, 0.02, and 0.05) in both SDCT groups compared with BDCT. For algorithm-guided SDCT, average net cash impacts were ≥$0.00 per cow dry-off (i.e., cost effective) when mastitis incidence increased slightly. However, as clinical mastitis incidence increased, economic returns for SDCT diminished. These findings indicate that when SDCT is implemented appropriately (i.e., no to little negative effect on health), it might be a cost-effective practice for US herds under a range of economic conditions.