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In 2021, Sweden had approximately 1.5 million cattle of which 302 000 were dairy cows. The number of dairy herds has decreased rapidly over time while the number of dairy cows has decreased more slowly. Thus, the herd size has increased markedly with an average herd size of 102 cows in 2021. The number of herds with beef cows has been rather constant during recent years. In 2021 the average herd size was 21 cows.

En grupp kor ligger och idisslar på en betesmark med gräs och träd.
Swedish Red and Swedish Holstein are the most common dairy cattle breeds in Sweden. Photo: Bengt Ekberg/SVA

Cattle health

Swedish cattle are, in an international comparison, very healthy, and the use of antimicrobials is low. Many diseases that are present in other countries occur only sporadically or are absent. Efficient control and surveillance programs have resulted in freedom from diseases like tuberculosis, brucellosis, and paratuberculosis, as well as freedom from infections like bovine virus diarrhoea virus (BVDV), infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) virus and bovine leucosis virus (BLV). The prevalence of salmonellosis is also very low.

However, as the herd size has increased markedly in dairy herds the risk for spread of endemic infectious diseases has increased. Mastitis, udder inflammation, remains the most common illness in dairy cows, while diarrhea and respiratory diseases are most common among dairy calves.

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Last updated : 2022-06-27