When there’s lameness in a dairy herd the wider impact it has on animal welfare, productivity and economic return can be crippling. Studies in New Zealand suggest an average of 26% of cows in large herds have some form of lameness over the course of a year.
The cost of a lame cow is estimated at $400-$500 per cow per season, which can really add up. A 400 cow NZ dairy farm with 10% of cows lame in a season would cost the farm $20K. On a larger 1000-cow farm (at average lameness rates) lameness costs could be more than $100K in direct and indirect costs. Visit the DairyNZ lameness calculator to work out the cost to your business.
Proactive management of hoofcare, namely prevention, early identification and treatment, can not only improve animal health and well-being but greatly benefit your business by reducing the cost of lameness comparatively.
Spring and mating are the periods when most lameness occurs in NZ dairy herds so now is the right time to be thinking about your hoof care management programme.
Herd management – distances walked (cows should be walking at their own pace)
Race quality and design
Hoof health from nutrition
Hoof mats or footbaths to apply minerals at entrance to dairy shed
Proactive trimming of hoof claws
Don’t let lameness hit you in the pocket this spring. Proactive management is key in reducing financial impact on your farming business and enhancing the well-being of your animals. Remove pressure from the affected claw by applying a block or shoe to the healthy claw.
Visit your local farm supply store or vet to enquire about Shoof hoofcare systems and familiarise yourself on best practice for optimum success.