Management factors associated with bovine respiratory disease in preweaned calves on California dairies: The BRD 100 study

Gabriele Maier, W. J. Love, B. M. Karle, S. A. Dubrovsky, D. R. Williams, J. D. Champagne, R. J. Anderson, Joan D Rowe, Terry W Lehenbauer, A. L. Van Eenennaam, Sharif S Aly

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14 Scopus citations


The objective of this cross-sectional study was to determine how management practices on California dairies may be associated with bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in preweaned calves. A convenience sample of 100 dairies throughout California, providing a study population of 4,636 calves, were visited between May 2014 and April 2016. During each farm visit, in-person interviews with the herd manager or calf caretaker were conducted to collect information about herd demographics, maternity pen, colostrum and calf management, herd vaccinations, and dust abatement. A random sample of preweaned calves was identified and evaluated for the presence of BRD using a standardized tool. A survey-adjusted generalized linear mixed model with a logit link function was fitted with calf as the unit of analysis and dairy as the random effect. Mean study herd size (±SE) was 1,718 (±189.9) cows. Survey-adjusted estimates of breed types in the sample were 81.6% (±0.6) Holstein, 13.1% (±0.4) Jersey, and 5.3% (±0.5) crossbred or other purebred breeds, and calf sex proportions were 73.8% (±1.0) female and 26.2% (±1.0) male. Overall survey-adjusted BRD prevalence in the study herds was 6.91% (±0.69). Housing factors positively associated with BRD were metal hutches compared with wood hutches [odds ratio (OR) = 11.19; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.80–44.78], calf-to-calf contact in calves >75 d of age (OR = 9.95, 95% CI = 1.50–65.86), feeding Holstein calves <2.84 L of milk or replacer per day (OR = 7.16, 95% CI = 1.23–41.68), and lagoon water used for flushing manure under hutches compared with no flush (OR = 12.06, 95% CI = 1.93–75.47). Providing extra shade over hutches (OR = 0.08; 95% CI = 0.02–0.37), feeding calves at least 90% saleable milk (OR = 0.27, 95% CI = 0.13–0.54) or pasteurized milk (OR = 0.10; 95% CI = 0.03–0.36), and feeding >5.68 L of milk or replacer per day to Jersey calves (OR = 0.04; 95% CI = 0.01–0.28) were negatively associated with BRD. Our study identified management practices on California dairies with variability and that may contribute to differences in BRD prevalence, which will be incorporated into a risk-assessment tool to control and prevent BRD in preweaned dairy calves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • bovine respiratory disease
  • dairy calf
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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