Data-driven tools in support of reduced calf mortality in Dutch dairy herds
Between 2009 and 2017, calf mortality in the Dutch dairy sector showed a slight but steady increase. The Dutch dairy industry decided to act and supported the development of several data-driven tools that were implemented from 2018 on. The tools informed farmers about their calf mortality rates and stimulated them to improve. Additionally, also other initiatives were initiated to improve calf rearing in dairy herds. The Trend Analysis Surveillance Component of the Dutch cattle Health Surveillance System provided the possibility to evaluate the calf mortality in Dutch dairy herds before and after implementation of all initiatives. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between calf mortality and all actions that were taken by the Dutch dairy industry to improve the quality of calf rearing and ii) other potential management or environmental factors associated with calf mortality in Dutch dairy herds.
Epidemiologists Inge Santman-Berends and Gerdien van Schaik together with expert of the large ruminant department Inge Nijhoving, Linda van Wuijckhuise, Iris Bos and Jan Muskens from Royal GD recently published a paper about this evaluation in the Elsevier Preventive Veterinary Medicine.