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Animal Health Economics in Livestock Herds (2018)

ECTS credits:

Course parameters:
Language: English
Level of course: PhD course
Time of year: Winter 2018
Capacity limits: 15 students

Objectives of the course:
The aim is to give PhD-students an overview of concepts and methods in Animal Health Economics (AHE) in the perspective of the primary livestock production herds.

Learning outcomes and competences:
The course will qualify the students to:

  • Understand and apply tools to support a farmer in drafting a strategy for a livestock herd
  • Select and apply basic methods for AHE analysis of an enterprise
  • Evaluate the economic consequences of a disease problem in a herd
  • Evaluate, compare and discuss alternative management strategies to solve a disease-related problem in a herd.
  • Explain and discuss how these alternative management strategies interact on animal welfare, biosecurity, work load and farmers preferences.

Compulsory programme:
Program of the one-week course:

Day 1 before lunch
(Søren Østergaard, AU)

  • Introduction to the course
  • PhD student introduce their PhD project plan and outline elements of AHE
  • Introduction to Animal Health Economics:
    - What is Animal Health economics
    - Describe the direct and indirect costs of animal disease
    - Describe the classical production function and apply it to a livestock enterprise

Day 1 after lunch
(Anne Braad Kudahl, AU)

  • Understand and apply tools to support a farmer in drafting a strategy for a livestock herd
  • Preparation for farm visit on day 2

Day 2 before lunch
(Søren Østergaard, AU)

  • Enterprise budgets for pig and cattle herds
  • Basic methods of Animal Health Economic analyses:
    - Decision tree analysis
    - Partial budgeting
    - Cost-benefit-analysis

Day 2 after lunch
(Anne Braad Kudahl, AU)

  • Farm visit where we asses a farmer’s decision making in relation to AHE

Day 3
(Jehan Frans Ettema, SimHerd A/S)

  • Herd simulation modelling as a tool in AHE
  • Presentation of the SimHerd dairy cattle herd simulation model
  • SimHerd exercises

After this lecture you will be able to use SimHerd on your own in your projects

Day 4 before lunch
(Ander Ringgaard Kristensen, KU)

  • Pig herd simulation modelling
  • Focus on culling of sows

Day 4 after lunch
(Mogens Agerbo Krogh, AU)

  • From epidemiological studies to economic analyses
  • Implication of study design and statistical analyses when retrieving parameters for your herd AHE analyses

Day 5
(Søren Østergaard, AU / Anne Braad Kudahl, AU)

  • Working with outline of students individual report

Program of a two day follow-up course: Presentation and discussion of course assignments

Course contents:
The course will consist of a one-week residential course and one month later, a two-day follow-up course will take place. The one-week course thus focuses on primary production (mainly dairy cattle and sow/swine-herds). We introduce the concept of AHE, visit a farm and experience how they make AHE decisions, and the student will be provided with a set of tools and skill that can be used in their PhD projects. These includes system analysis and simulation modelling. The dairy herd model ‘SimHerd’ and the sow/pig-herd model by A. R. Kristensen will be presented as available tools for analyzing dairy and pig herds.  The course is organized in lectures, exercises (both individual and in groups), and discussions and presentations both in groups and in plenum.

During the one month between the course periods each students write an individual report where presented methods are applied on a subject of own choice (could be related to their PhD study). These reports are presented and discussed on the two-day follow up course, where the students also act as opponents on each other’s report-presentations.


The course targets PhD-Students with project within the area of livestock production or veterinary epidemiology. If there are not enough PhD-Students then the course will be open for others with similar background. 


Name of lecturers:
The course organizer is:

Other key lecturers of the course are:

  • Anne Braad Kudahl (ABK), Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University
  • Mogens Agerbo Krogh (MAK), Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University
  • Jehan Frans Ettema (JFE), SimHerd A/S
  • Anders Ringgaard Kristensen (ARK), University of Copenhagen

Rushton, J.: The Economics of Animal Health and Production supplemented with relevant internationally published scientific literature

Course homepage:

Course assessment:
Requirements: Preparation and participation in the full program of both the 5 days residential course and the 2 day follow-up course and a passed course report.

The course is provided by the Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University

Special comments on this course:
Course participants have to pay direct costs for accommodation etc. Price for PhD-students: 750 Euro for single room. Price for others holding a PhD degree: 1340 Euro. This amount covers all expenses during the first one week course, including accommodation with own bath/toilet, food (Monday to Friday noon), social dinner.

From 3 - 7 December 2018 (one week course) and 30 - 31 January 2019 (two day follow-up)

AU- Foulum

Registration deadline: 5 November 2018. Please use this link

Questions: Søren Østergaard; Tel.: (+45) 87157961;  E-mail: soren.ostergaard@anis.au.dk

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