News & Advice

Flora, fauna, farmers – factors

Aug 31, 2016 | Dairy, Lameness

Or nutrition, cows, people – races, yard, mud! All these factors (and more) can have an impact on the prevalence of lameness in your herd. Interestingly though, early results from the client lameness survey indicate three risk factors dominated your thoughts; track/races, stones and the weather. 
Heading into mating, we would like to remind you of several tips to minimise the impact of these risk factors: 
1. A cow naturally places her back feet in exactly the same spot as her front feet; as long as she can see where she’s placing her front feet and has time to do so she can avoid problem areas and stones. 
2. Trying to rush the tail end of the herd along the track has no impact on the cows leading the herd. Prevent them from turning back, but leave them free to walk to the shed. 
3. Cows are creatures of habit; establish a routine of bringing them in, yarding and milking and you’ll notice an improvement in cow flow (and therefore less pressure) within a week. 
4. If rain has a significant impact on your races, there are track adjustments that can be made to reduce this issue. 
5. Heads up means pressure, whether you see this along the track or on the yard. Improving cow flow (see point 3) and standardising gate use (top gate and backing gate) addresses this problem. 
6. Make sure to hose the yard down between milkings; stones on the yard can cause significant lameness problems quickly. 
If these tips have started you thinking, but you would like some help putting them into practice, ring your clinic to make an appointment with a Healthy Hoof Provider. 
Prevention is so much better than treating lame cows and knowledge is the key to prevention; we’ve got plenty and we’d love to share with you to help maximise production and mating success through lameness reduction. 
It is also worth being reminded that although every herd in the Waikato was exposed to the same climatic conditions in July, not every herd has lots of lame cows! 

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