Diagnosis before treatment: identifying dairy farmers' determinants for the adoption of sustainable practices in gastrointestinal nematode control

Publication Date: Sunday 16 August 2015
Author(s): Vande Velde, F., Claerebout, E., Cauberghe, V., Hudders, L., Charlier, J.
Appeared in: International conference of the world association for the advancement of veterinary parasitology (WAAVP)


Anthelmintic resistance is emerging in dairy cattle and this can result in a lack of effective control and production losses. Therefore, sustainable control strategies should be adopted by the industry such as the use of diagnostic methods to take informed treatment decisions. To understand the factors affecting the farmers’ intention to adopt diagnostic methods before implementing anthelmintic drugs (‘adoption intention’), a theoretical model was constructed. This framework was created to predict adoption intentions based on two fundamental theories in the field of behavioral psychology and health psychology: the Theory of Planned Behavior and the Health Belief Model. The framework was validated through a cross-sectional survey carried out in dairy farms in Belgium (Flanders). In the tested model, adoption intentions were predicted based on attitudes towards anthelminthic drugs, attitudes towards diagnostic methods, subjective norms, behavioral control and perceived risk. Structural equation modeling was used for analyses. The model fitted the data well and explained 46% of the variance in adoption intention of diagnostics. The factors ‘attitude towards diagnostic methods’ and ‘subjective norm’; i.e. the influence of significant others, had the strongest, positive influence on adoption intention of diagnostic methods. A multi-group analysis found no difference in the adoption of diagnostics for young stock vs. adult dairy cows. The results of this study can be used for the development of communication strategies to advertise sustainable nematode control on dairy farms.

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