Economic impact of health & welfare issues in beef cattle & sheep in England

Project number:                    74106

Lead contractor:                   ADAS UK Ltd

Start & end date:                   09 January 2012 to 31 March 2012

Actual end date:                    17 April 2013

 

The Problem:

It is widely acknowledged that sub-optimal health and welfare represents a major cost to the English beef and sheep industry. Eblex acknowledge this is an area where R&D and KT investment can have significant impact.  In order to strengthen the evidence base that informs such investment decisions a document that sets out the cost of the main animal health threats to the industry and how these might change in the future is required.

 

Project Aims :

The main objective of this work is to provide Eblex with independent evidence on which to base future funding decisions on research and development and knowledge transfer to maximise benefit to levy payers.

 

Approach:

This will be a desk based study including a literature review and consultation with relevant industry representatives and organisations.

 

Deliverables :

  • The production of a literature review to collate the most recent estimates of the economic impact of the major animal health and welfare issues and threats to beef and sheep production in England (at a country and farm level).
  • An analysis of the potential future changes in animal health and welfare issues as the wider environment changes (STEEPLE analysis).
  • Recommendations for how R&D investment from EBLEX can make a difference to these issues over the next 10 years, including a cost benefit analysis where possible.

Recommendations for how KT investment from EBLEX can make a difference to these issues over the next 10 years, including a cost benefit analysis where possible.

 

Results summary: 

The report outlines the literature relevant to five endemic diseases of beef cattle and sheep. In each case costs of the disease are presented alongside the cost benefit of controlling that disease.  Below is a summary of the main conclusions.

 

Table 1: Summary of diseases in English flock and herd

Disease

Page

Cost of disease to   industry per year

Reference

Cost of disease per affected animal

£ per animal

(Calculated in this report)

Cost benefit of disease   prevention

£ per animal in flock or herd

(Calculated in this report)

Sheep
Lameness 12

£24 million to British sheep industry

Nieuwohf and Bishop, 2005

90 (per ewe)

4.40 (per ewe)

Abortion 15

£32 million to UK sheep industry

Bennett   and Ijpelaar, 2003

122 (per ewe)

10.90 (per ewe)

Ectoparasite (scab) 17

£8.3 million to British sheep industry

Nieuwohf and Bishop, 2005

12.30 (per ewe)

10.50 (per ewe)

Intestinal parasites  stomach worms 19/20

£84 million to British sheep industry

Nieuwohf and Bishop, 2005

4.40 (per lamb)

3.50 (per lamb)

Liver fluke 22

£13-15 million for English beef and sheep

Eblex Stock Briefing, 2011

6 (per lamb)

5.60 (per lamb)

Cattle
BVD 28

£36.6 million to UK cattle industry

Bennett and Ijpelaar, 2003

58 (per cow)

42 (per cow)

Johne’s 32

£13 million UK cattle industry

Caldow and Gunn 2009

46 (per cow)

Respiratory Disease 33

£50 million UK cattle industry

Potter, 2010

82 (per calf)

76 (per calf)

Diarrhoea (calf scour) 35

£11 million to UK cattle   industry

Bennett and Ijpelaar, 2003

58 (per calf)

47 (per calf)

Liver fluke 36

£23 million to UK cattle industry

Bennett and Ijpelaar, 2003

90 (per calf)

87 (per calf)

 

All the costs calculated in this project are based on practically realistic examples but will vary according to the severity of an outbreak and promptness of treatment.

 

Planned activity: 

  1. This report will be used to underpin knowledge transfer messages to producers about the cost benefit of controlling endemic disease in their flock or herd.
  2. The report will be used to inform the priorities of the R&D strategy and future calls under this theme.
  3. The information will be communicated to industry via press  releases and the EBLEX producer bulletin etc.
  4. It will also be used to communicate to stakeholders and opinion formers about the potential cost of animal health & welfare to the beef and sheep industry.