Financial Impacts of Liver Fluke on Livestock Farms Under Climate Change–A Farm Level Assessment

S Shrestha*, AS Barratt, NJ Fox, Bouda Vosough Ahmadi, Michael Hutchings

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Liver fluke infection (fascioliasis) is a parasitic disease which affects the health and welfare of ruminants. It is a concern for the livestock industry and is considered as a growing threat to the industry because changing climatic conditions are projected to be more favorable to increased frequency and intensity of liver fluke outbreaks. Recent reports highlighted that the incidence and geographic range of liver fluke has increased in the UK over the last decade and estimated to increase the average risk of liver fluke in the UK due to increasing temperature and rainfall. This paper explores financial impacts of the disease with and without climate change effects on Scottish livestock farms using a farm-level economic model. The model is based on farming system analysis and uses linear programming technique to maximize farm net profit within farm resources. Farm level data from a sample of 160 Scottish livestock farms is used under a no disease baseline scenario and two disease scenarios (with and without climate change). These two disease scenarios are compared with the baseline scenario to estimate the financial impact of the disease at farm levels. The results suggest a 12% reduction in net profit on an average dairy farm compared to 6% reduction on an average beef farm under standard disease conditions. The losses increase by 2-fold on a dairy farm and 6-fold on a beef farm when climate change effects are included with disease conditions on farms. There is a large variability within farm groups with profitable farms incurring relatively lesser economic losses than non-profitable farms. There is a substantial increase in number of vulnerable farms both in dairy (+20%) and beef farms (+27%) under the disease alongside climate change conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number564795
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume7
Early online date7 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 7 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • climate change
  • economic impact study
  • farm level modeling
  • liver fluke
  • livestock farms

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