An agent-based model evaluation of economic control strategies for paratuberculosis in a dairy herd

Leslie J. Verteramo Chiu, Loren W. Tauer, Mohammad A. Al-Mamun, Karun Kaniyamattam, Rebecca L. Smith, Yrjo T. Grohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper uses an agent-based simulation model to estimate the costs associated with Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP), or Johne's disease, in a milking herd, and to determine the net benefits of implementing various control strategies. The net present value (NPV) of a 1,000-cow milking herd is calculated over 20 yr, parametrized to a representative US commercial herd. The revenues of the herd are generated from sales of milk and culled animals. The costs include all variable and fixed costs necessary to operate a representative 1,000-cow milking herd. We estimate the NPV of the herd with no MAP infection, under an expected endemic infection distribution with no controls, and under an expected endemic infection distribution with various controls. The initial number of cows in a herd with an endemic MAP infection is distributed as 75% susceptible, 13% latent, 9% low MAP shedding, and 3% high MAP shedding. Control strategies include testing using ELISA and fecal culture tests and culling of cows that test positive, and culling based on observable milk production decrease. Results show that culling cows based on test results does not increase the herd's NPV and in most cases decreases NPV due to test costs as well as false positives and negatives with their associated costs (e.g., culling healthy cows and keeping infected cows). Culling consistently low producing cows when MAP is believed to be present in the herd produces higher NPV over the strategy of testing and culling MAP infected animals, and over the case of no MAP control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6443-6454
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • Johne's disease paratuberculosis infection simulation
  • agent-based model
  • infection control strategy
  • paratuberculosis economic cost

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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