Cost cutting cows

Costs of specific diseases 

Have you thought about how much various health problems cost your business?


Mastitis is among the top culling reasons for dairy cows. It not only causes pain for the cow, but also results in decreased milk production, the need to discard milk and deal with reduced milk quality for processing.
Mastitis is a complex and common disease that is caused by a wide range of bacteria. It is difficult to estimate exactly the economic costs of mastitis due to the different factors involved. 

  • clinical presentation of mastitis
  • timing of disease start and treatment approach taken
  • value and age of the cow affected
  • level and value of milk production loss
  • culling or mortality risk due to mastitis
  • the likelihood of repeat cases in the same cow
  • USA: According to studies made in the USA, a single case of mastitis is estimated to cost around $500. The costs would be even higher if it is the top performing cow that is lost in her early lactation.  

    UK: The data from the UK show that the cost of a mild case of mastitis costs £113 per case, while a severe case of mastitis is estimated to be £333, and a fatal case costs around £1,418. The latest survey undertaken in the UK concluded that the incidence of clinical mastitis is between 40-65 cases per 100 cows per year. Assuming that 10% of all cases are of severe mastitis, a 500-cow herd would lose £27,000-43,000 per year. 

    Australia: In Australia, the average cost to treat a single cow for mastitis is estimated to be 270$. 


    Nordic: Costs of common hoof disorders per severe case in the Nordic countries are estimated to vary from 60 to 1,310 EUR.

    UK: According to UK data, the average case of dairy herd lameness is £323 per cow. The prevalence of lameness ranges from 0% to around 80% across farms and an average of 36.8%. 

    Sole ulcer 

    Sole ulcers can be a major cost to a dairy business. Sole ulcers affect approximately six dairy cows per 100 annually in the UK, but this figure varies widely on UK farms (0-54.8 cases per 100 cows per year). 
    Compared to the best UK farms that never experience sole ulcers, the annual cost to the average farm is approximately £2,000 per 100 cows, rising to approximately £18,000 per 100 cows per year for the worst performing farms. The major costs are concealed within reduced longevity, reduced reproduction health and reduced milk yield.


    Sole ulcer

    The table shows the economic impact of using a VikingHolstein bull with EBV 120 for sole ulcer depending on herd size and current frequency of disease. The calculation is based on the assumption that the current level in the herd is the average for the breed population. The economic cost of a severe case of sole ulcer in the Nordic countries is 1,300 EUR. For example, if you have 200 cows and the current level of sole ulcer cases is 20 cases per year, this would be reduced to eight cases and you would save 15,600 EUR per year.


    In a similar way, you can see how much you can save by using a bull with EBV 120 in Udder Health. Economic cost of a clinical case of mastitis in the USA is $500. For example, for a herd with 500 cows and a current level of mastitis of 150 cases per year (30%), this would be reduced to 87 cases and you would save $31,500 per year.