Skip to main content
Log in

Reduced Milk Production in Udder Quarters with Subclinical Mastitis and Associated Economic Losses in Crossbred Dairy Cows in Ethiopia

  • Published:
Tropical Animal Health and Production Aims and scope Submit manuscript


The objective of the study was to estimate the losses associated with subclinical mastitis (SCM) in crossbred dairy cows in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia. A split udder investigation was performed with 30 cows to determine production losses associated with SCM. Each quarter of the study cows was examined using the California Mastitis Test (CMT) and quarter milk production was measured over a period of 8 days. Production losses were determined for different CMT scores by comparing production of quarters with CMT score 0 to quarters with CMT scores trace, 1, 2 and 3, respectively. Using data from a recently published study, economic losses were determined for different farm sizes and production subsystems by multiplying the prevalence of the respective CMT scores with the production losses associated with these CMT scores. Mean quarter milk production was 0.82 + 0.40 kg per milking in the split udder trial. Milk production was reduced by 1.2%, 6.3%, and 33% in quarters with CMT scores 1+, 2+, and 3+, respectively. Using data from the published study, a quarter with SCM lost an average of 17.2% of its milk production. Production losses associated with SCM were estimated at 5.6% for the Addis Ababa Milk Shed. Stratified losses were highest (9.3%) in urban dairy farms (UDF) and small-scale farms (6.3%). The estimates of the financial losses ranged from US$29.1 in dairy herds in secondary towns (DHIST) to US$66.6 in UDF. A total loss of US$38 was estimated for each cow per lactation. Reducing mastitis in UDF (highest prevalence) to the level of DHIST (lowest prevalence) could reduce the loss by US$35. As this does not include costs associated with treatment or culling of diseased cows, this figure probably underestimates the possible benefits of control measures.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others



California Mastitis Test


dairy herds in secondary towns


peri-urban dairy farms


subclinical mastitis


urban dairy farms


  • Bartlett, P.C., Miller, G.Y., Anderson, C.R. and Kirk, J.H., 1990. Milk production and somatic cell counts in Michigan dairy herds. Journal of Dairy Science, 73, 2794–2800

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bishi, A.S., 1998. Cross-sectional and longitudinal prospective study of bovine clinical and sub-clinical mastitis in the peri-urban and urban production systems in Addis Ababa Region, (MSc thesis, Free University of Berlin, Germany and Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, Joint program)

  • Blosser, T.H., 1979. Economic losses from the national research program on mastitis in the USA. Journal of Dairy Science, 62, 119–127

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • De Graaf, T. and Dwinger, R.H., 1996. Estimation of milk production losses due to sub-clinical mastitis in dairy cattle in Costa Rica. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 26, 215–222

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • De Graves, F.J. and Fetrow, J., 1993. Economics of mastitis and mastitis control. Veterinary Clinics of North America, Food Animal Practice, 9, 421–434

    Google Scholar 

  • Dobbins, C.N., 1977. Mastitis losses. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 170, 1129–1132

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Fetrow, J., 2000. Mastitis: an economic consideration. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the National Mastitis Council, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 1–50

  • Frese, M., 1999. Cross-site and cross-location on-farm investigation on the epidemiology of mastitis in market oriented urban/periurban production systems in the regions of Addis Ababa and Debre Zeit, Ethiopia, (Diploma thesis, Free University of Berlin, Germany)

  • Goodger, W.J. and Ferguson, G., 1987. Benefits and costs of a control program for an epizootic of Staphyloccocus aureus mastitis. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 190, 1284–1287

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Houben, E.H.P., 1995. Economic optimization of decisions with respect to dairy cow health management, (PhD thesis, Department of Farm Management, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, NL)

  • Hussein, N., 1999. Cross-sectional and longitudinal study of bovine mastitis in urban and peri-urban dairy systems in the Addis Ababa region, Ethiopia, (MSc thesis, Free University of Berlin, Germany and Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, Joint program)

  • Kerro Dego, O. and Tareke, F., 2003. Bovine mastitis in selected areas of southern Ethiopia. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 35, 197–205

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Klaas, I.C., 2000. Untersuchungen zum Auftreten von Mastitiden und zur Tiergesundheit in 15 Milchviehbetrieben Schleswig-Holsteins, (Dissertation, Schriftenreihe des Instituts für Tierzucht und Tierhaltung der Christian Albrechts Universität zu Kiel, Heft 119)

  • McDermott, M.P., Erb, H.N., Natzke, R.P., Barnes, F.D. and Bray, D., 1983. Cost and benefit of lactation therapy with somatic cell as indication for treatment. Journal of Dairy Science, 66, 1198–1203

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Mekonnen, G., Demeke, K. and Assefa, T., 1985. Assessment of state dairy farms. Ethiopian Journal of Agricultural Science, 7, 51–67

    Google Scholar 

  • Mungube, E.O., Tenhagen, B.-A., Kassa, F., Regassa, F., Kyule, M.N., Greiner, M. and Baumann, M.P.O., 2004. Risk factors for dairy cows mastitis in the central highlands of Ethiopia. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 36, 463–172

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Omore, A.O., McDermott, J.J., Arimi, S.M. and Kyule, M.N., 1999. Impact of mastitis control measures on milk production and mastitis indicators in smallholder dairy farms in Kiambu District, Kenya. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 31, 347–361

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Raubertas, R.P. and Shook, G.E., 1982. Relationship between lactation measures of somatic cell concentration and milk yields. Journal of Dairy Science, 65, 419–425

    Google Scholar 

  • Rivard, G., Benoit, M. and Marcoux, R., 1986. Les pertes economiques dues a la mammite: une methode d'appreciation. Le Médecin Vétérinaire du Quebec, 16, 93–95

    Google Scholar 

  • Schepers, J.A. and Dijkhuizen, A.A., 1991. The economics of mastitis and mastitis control in dairy cattle: a critical analysis of estimates published since 1970. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 10, 213–224

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Singh, P.J. and Singh, K.B., 1994. A study on economic losses of mastitis in India. Indian Journal of Dairy Science, 47, 265–272

    Google Scholar 

  • SPSS (June 2000). Version 10.07 (SPSS Inc., Chicago)

  • Thrusfield, M., 1995. Veterinary Epidemiology, 2nd edn, (Blackwell Science, Oxford)

    Google Scholar 

  • Workineh, S., Bayleyegn, M., Mekonnen, H. and Potgieter, L.N.D., 2002. Prevalence and aetiology of mastitis in cows from two major Ethiopian dairies. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 34, 19–25

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to B.-A. Tenhagen.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Mungube, E.O., Tenhagen, BA., Regassa, F. et al. Reduced Milk Production in Udder Quarters with Subclinical Mastitis and Associated Economic Losses in Crossbred Dairy Cows in Ethiopia. Trop Anim Health Prod 37, 503–512 (2005).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: