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Investigating the value dairy farmers place on a reduction of lameness in their herds using a willingness to pay approach

Bennett, R. ORCID:, Barker, Z. E. ORCID:, Main, D. C. J., Whay, H. R. and Leach, K. A. (2014) Investigating the value dairy farmers place on a reduction of lameness in their herds using a willingness to pay approach. Veterinary Journal, 199 (1). pp. 72-75. ISSN 1090-0233

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.09.068


A survey was conducted to elicit dairy farmers’ willingness to pay (WTP) to reduce the prevalence of lameness in their herds. A choice experiment questionnaire was administered using face-to-face interviews of 163 farmers in England and Wales. Whole herd lameness assessments by trained researchers recorded a mean lameness prevalence of nearly 24% which was substantially higher than that estimated by farmers. Farmers’ responses to a series of attitudinal questions showed that they strongly agreed that cows can suffer a lot of pain from lameness and believed that they could reduce lameness in their herds. Farmers’ mean WTP to avoid lameness amounted to UK£411 per lame cow but with considerable variation across the sample. Median WTP of UK£249 per lame cow was considered a better measure of central tendency for the sample. In addition, the survey found that farmers had a substantial WTP to avoid the inconvenience associated with lameness control (a median value of UK£97 per lame cow) but that they were generally prepared to incur greater inconvenience if it reduced lameness. The study findings suggest that farmers need a better understanding of the scale and costs of lameness in their herds and the benefits of control. To encourage action, farmers need to be convinced that lameness control measures perceived as inconvenient will be cost effective.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Agri-Food Economics & Marketing
ID Code:35793

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