Incidence of calf scours and associated risk factors in southern New South Wales beef herds

Jan Lievaart, N.R. Charman, Colin Scrivener, D. Morton, Maxwell Allworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to identify the incidence of morbidity and mortality associated with calf scours in beef calves between birth and 14 days of age. Farm characteristics, animal factors and management practices were also assessed for any association with calf scours being present on the farm. A questionnaire and return address envelope were distributed to 721 farms with at least 50 head of beef cattle in the Hume area of New South Wales, Australia. In total, 147 (20.4%) farmers responded to the survey, of which 76 (51.7%) indicated calf scours did occur on their farm. On average, farmers estimated the morbidity of calf scours was 4.5%, but only 0.2% of all calves died as a result of scours. Affected herds were more likely to have multiple breeds and a higher proportion of cows with mismothering problems or weak calves compared with unaffected herds. These differences were confirmed with regression analysis. A large proportion of farmers with affected herds reported the loss of many calves from 'unexplained' or 'sudden' death within the first 14 days of life. The incidence of calf morbidity was lower and mortality was within the same range compared with other studies on beef farms around the world. The high percentage of farms reporting losses from 'unexplained' or 'sudden' death of calves requires further monitoring and diagnostic and economic investigations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-468
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Incidence of calf scours and associated risk factors in southern New South Wales beef herds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this