Quantification of the financial effect of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis infection on lactation performance is essential to encourage participation of dairy cattle producers in Johne's disease (JD) control programs. The objective of this study was to evaluate the differences in net income per lactation of cows shedding Mycobacterium paratuberculosis before calving compared with test-negative cows. Two Minnesota dairies were enrolled in the study and fecal samples were collected from 1,048 cows during the close-up period. Milk production, clinical diseases (other than clinical JD), and reproductive performance data were recorded for each cow. Overall, fecal-culture-positive (FCP) cows produced 1,355 kg less than fecal-culture-negative (FCN) cows. Fecal-culture-positive cows that survived their current lactation produced $276 less in milk income than cows that were FCN ($1,956 vs. $1,680; SD $526, $570). Fecal-culture-positive cows were 3.0 (95% confidence interval: 1.6-5.8) times more likely to be culled than FCN cows. The mean days open (number of days from calving to conception) was not statistically significant and the cost differences for clinical disease other than JD were small and neither statistically nor economically significant between FCP and FCN cows. Among all FCP cows, income over feed costs losses were $366 per cow per lactation compared with FCN cows. Among FCP nonculled cows, income over feed costs losses were $276 more compared with FCN cows and this difference was statistically significant. There was a total loss of $155 per lactation for nonculled FCP cows retained in the herd compared with FCN cows retained in the herd. Among culled cows, FCP cow losses were $50 less because of age at culling and $120 for reduced beef value. This totaled a loss of $441 for culled FCP cows compared with culled FCN cows. The losses as a result of lower lactation performance and early culling from the herd should alarm dairy producers and motivate them to implement the appropriate control measures for the disease.
- Dairy cow
- Income over feed cost
- Milk production
- Mycobacterium paratuberculosis shedding