Economic figures in herd health programmes as motivation factors for farmers

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Veterinarians often express frustrations when farmers do not implement their advice, and farmers sometimes shake their heads when they receive veterinary advice which is practically unfeasible. This is the background for the development of a focused 3 page economic report created in cooperation between veterinarians, farmers, advisers and researchers. Based on herd specific key-figures for management, the report presents the short- and long-term economic effects of changes in 15 management areas. Simulations are performed by the dairy herd simulation model “SimHerd”. The aim is to assist the veterinarian in identifying the economically most favorable and feasible management improvements and thereby provide more relevant and prioritised advice to the farmer.

In the developing process, a prototype of the advisory tool was tested by 15 veterinarians on 55 farms. After the test period, a selection of farmers were asked to take part in a qualitative evaluation questioning them whether they had implemented the action plans suggested on basis of the advisory tool and making them explain what made them agree or disagree on the results from this new advisory tool. The aim of this process was to evaluate the farmers’ receptiveness to advice based on these economic analyses. We found that the analysed advisory tool (the report) can be seen as a valuable help and support for some farmers when deciding whether to implement the action plans. However, certain reservations were recognised. The trustworthiness of the tool depends on whether the veterinarians are able to suggest to the farmer which specific management changes are needed to obtain the estimated effects and what the related expenses might be (costs). Without transparency of expenses, time-limits, work hours and so on, farmers may not be convinced by the tool.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Vol/bind134
Sider (fra-til)170-178
ISSN0167-5877
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2016

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