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Herd-level and contextual factors influencing dairy cow mortality in France in 2005 and 2006

Abstract : Dairy cow mortality causes financial loss and is increasing over time; it indicates suboptimal herd health or welfare. To describe the herd-level and contextual factors affecting cow mortality, the French National Bovine Dataset Identification was used to create dairy, beef, or fattening units within farms, for 2005 and 2006. Mortality rate (MO-RA, outcome variable) and most variables were calculated at the unit level, whereas contextual variables were defined at the municipality level [cattle density, inhabitant density, agricultural land always with grass on overall agricultural land (ALWG/OAL)]. The localization (11 dairy production areas, representative of the farming systems) was also included. The statistical analysis was performed with a probit regression model (MO-RA=0 or>0) and with a linear model corrected by the Heckman method for bias sample selection. For 2005 and 2006, 3.8 and 3.7 million dairy cow-years, 101,445 and 96,954 dairy units, and 141,677 and 143,424 deaths were recorded, respectively. Over one-third of the units had no dairy cow mortality in 2005 or 2006. Overall MO-RA was 3.7 and 3.8% for 2005 and 2006, respectively. Restricted MO-RA (farms without death excluded) was 5.8% for 2005 and 2006. The correlation of MO-RA among units between the 2 yr was 0.25. The same effects and close estimate values were reported for 2005 and 2006 with both models. Mortality rate was positively associated with the number of cow-years, having a beef unit in addition to a dairy unit, the proportion of purchased cows, the proportion of first-calving cows, the average calving interval, being a Milk Control Program member, inhabitant density, not being in dairy production area Grand-Ouest, and ALWG/OAL. Negative associations were reported for breed other than Holstein, being a Good Breeding Practices member, having a calving peak in autumn, culling rate, and municipal cattle density. This study reports an average mortality rate for the French dairy cows. It suggests that the farmer's management style highly influences mortality. In addition, farming system has an effect on the mortality. A possible association between municipal intensification of production and decreased mortality was also reported.
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Submitted on : Friday, May 29, 2020 - 1:38:49 PM
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Didier Raboisson, Eric Cahuzac, Pierre Sans, Gilles Allaire. Herd-level and contextual factors influencing dairy cow mortality in France in 2005 and 2006. Journal of Dairy Science, American Dairy Science Association, 2011, 94 (4), pp.1790-1803. ⟨10.3168/jds.2010-3634⟩. ⟨hal-02650273⟩

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