An experienced ruminant health specialist (GH, dipl. ECBHM, i.e., European College of Bovine Health Management) was asked to give his personal opinion for each herd on the SCK risk in early lactation cows in relation to the total Dutch dairy population.

As previous research indicated that the risk for SCK is related to routine feeding practices (e.g., [10]) and herd level milk yield (e.g., [11]), herd level feeding management and herd level milk production documents that were collected during the farm visit [9] were provided to the expert as a proxy for a farm visit. This herd level information on feeding and milk production was hence incorporated in the prediction model through elicited expert opinion.

We adopted the three scales specified for the expert elicitation from the simulation study [2]. The 2-level scale divided the Dutch dairy population into two groups: the lower 50% risk group and the upper 50% risk group. The 3-level scale divided the population into three equal probability groups, and the 5-level scale divided the population into five groups (see Fig 1). As all herd level information was available for the 5 herds that were not included in the analysis, these herds were used as test herds to pilot and evaluate the instruction and the scoring form for the expert elicitation. The original instruction provided for the expert can be found in S3 Appendix.

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