Cattle farmer psychosocial profiles and their association with control strategies for bovine viral diarrhoea

summary of:
Cattle farmer psychosocial profiles and their association with control strategies for bovine viral diarrhoea
Author(s):
N.S. Prosser, M.J. Green, E. Ferguson, M.J. Tildesley, E.M. Hill, M.J. Keeling and J. Kaler
Published in:
Date:
April 2022
DOI:
Type of access:

Open access

In our edition of: Jun 2022
In our categories of: farm animals

our summary:

Prosser, N.S. et al (2022) Cattle farmer psychosocial profiles and their association with control strategies for bovine viral diarrhea. Journal of Dairy Science, 105 (4), pp. 3559-3573.

The aim of this survey study was to investigate the psychosocial profiles of UK cattle farmers and to evaluate how individual profiles and factors from the COM-B (capability, opportunity, motivation-behaviour) framework of behaviour change are associated with the farmer’s control strategies for bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD).

The survey, which was developed following a series of focus groups, investigated characteristics such as altruism, reluctant altruism, trust and distrust, and psychological proximity in the context of BVD control. It included a variety of question types, including social value orientation (SVO) slider measure questions, Likert-scale questions, and the ‘inclusion of other in self’ scale. The survey was open from July to October 2020, with the link emailed to dairy and beef levy payers by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and promoted by other cattle interest organisations.

There was a total of 475 survey responses, most respondents (73%) were from England and in their 50s (30%) or 60s (25%).

According to the SVO slider measure responses, 75.4% of farmers were categorised as prosocial, 16.6% were individualistic, with very few altruistic (1.3%) or competitive (0.4%). Veterinarians were the most trusted and least distrusted group. 85% of farmers felt respected by their veterinarian.

Farmers who were controlling disease both for themselves and others were more likely to do something to control BVD (e.g., test, vaccinate). Farmers who did not trust other farmers, with good knowledge and understanding of how to control disease and time and money to control disease were more likely to have a closed, separate herd and to test. Farmers who did not trust other farmers were also more likely to undertake prevention strategies with an open herd.

When looking at psychological proximity, farmers with a feeling of closeness to their veterinarian were more likely to undertake prevention strategies in an open herd. Farmers with high psychological proximity to dairy farmers and low psychological proximity to beef farmers were more likely to keep their herd closed and separate and to test or vaccinate and test.

Limitations of the study include a potential selection bias and the high proportion of English farmers, meaning that the psychosocial profiles of the study population may not be generalisable to the general cattle farmer population.

Take Home

The results highlight the importance of relationships between farmers, veterinarians and governmental and other organisations in farmer uptake of BVD control strategies. This information has implications for successful nationwide BVD control and eradication schemes.

Image copyright attribute: stockbroker

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