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The use of decision analysis to compare cattle tick boophilus microplus control strategies under conditions of risk



The use of decision analysis to compare cattle tick boophilus microplus control strategies under conditions of risk



Preventive Veterinary Medicine 3(6): 523-536



Control strategies for the cattle tick Boophilus microplus were compared on the basis of maximum expected utility to the beef cattle producer in south east Queensland, using decision analysis techniques to incorporate risk considerations into the analysis. The control strategies included one or more of the following measures: tick-resistant breeds, varying numbers of applications of acaricide at selected intervals, and pasture spelling between grazings. The analyses were performed using a computer simulation model with separate epidemiological, beef production and economic components. Methods of using the model to incorporate risk considerations are described, including the estimation of necessary probabilities and expected utility values. Using these techniques, the influence of two major risk variables on expected economic return was assessed. These were between-year variations in pasture growth due to different weather conditions, was variation in the price of cattle sold for beef, due to market influences. Extensive analyses with the model showed that the optimum mix of control measures did not change significantly according to the risk status of the cattle producer. The attitude of the producer to risk did not therefore have to be taken into account in recommending tick control strategies. Thus, the ranking of control measures obtained by simple economic analysis is an accurate guide for the selection of tick control strategies in the study area. The decision analysis approach highlighted strategies which the model predicted would be cost-effective under the greatest range of conditions of the risk variables, and appropriate regardless of the producer's attitude to risk. Some of these strategies differ significantly from those recommended and used commercially in the past.

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Accession: 006786514

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