Associations of stockpersons’ personalities and attitudes with performance of dairy cattle herds

https://doi.org/10.17221/4162-CJASCitation:L Panamá Arias J., Špinka M. (2005): Associations of stockpersons’ personalities and attitudes with performance of dairy cattle herds. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 50: 226-234.
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We collected questionnaires from 128 stockpersons on 31 Czech dairy farms with the aim to examine three questions: (i) whether the stockpersons’ personality profiles, their attitudes and beliefs about cows, and their age/experience were related to farm performance indicators such as milk yield per standardised lactation, culling of cows or costs of veterinary treatments; (ii) whether stockpersons’ personalities and attitudes were related to their age, gender and duration of their experience with cattle; and, (iii) how the personality traits of stockpersons differed from the same traits in the general Czech population. The NEO Big Five Personality Inventory questionnaires were used to describe the personalities of the stockpersons in five dimensions: neuroticism, extroversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness. The attitudes towards cows were examined using a custom-made questionnaire. Attitudes towards cows, as measured by our questionnaire, were unrelated to farm performance. Farms with more neurotic stockpersons had lower milk yields per standardised lactation (rS = –0.38, P < 0.05, n = 31) and higher veterinary costs (rS = 0.40, P < 0.05, n = 30) and farms with more conscientious staff had lower veterinary costs (rS = –0.37, P < 0.05, n = 30). Farms with older stockpersons had higher milk sale prices (rS = 0.53, P < 0.01, n = 31) and lower veterinary expenses (rS = –0.43, P < 0.05, n = 30). On the level of individual stockpersons, longer history of working with dairy cattle was related to lower neuroticism (rS = –0.25, P < 0.01, n = 128). Female stockpersons were more neurotic (P < 0.05) and more agreeable (P < 0.01) than male stockpersons. Stockpersons were substantially less extroverted (P < 0.001), substantially less open to experience (P < 0.001), somewhat less agreeable (P < 0.05) and somewhat more conscientious (P < 0.05) than the average of the Czech population. In conclusion, this study suggests that stockpersons differ in their personalities from the general population and that their personality profiles (but not attitudes towards the animals) might affect dairy farm performance.  
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