Detecting Lameness In Dairy Cattle
Analysis from FAI, funded by McDonald’s UK, shows that regular mobility scoring can help farmers detect and tackle dairy cattle lameness earlier as well as reduce associated production losses. Recent figures show that a quarter of all dairy cows in the UK are affected by some degree of lameness resulting in annual costs to a farmer with an average sized herd of nearly £15,000, including the cost of treatment, loss of yield and potentially shorter productive life.
As a result of these findings FAI developed a Mobility Score Decision Tree to help farmers detect mobility problems and enable prompt treatment of these animals. The tool is based on the UK industry standard DairyCo 0-3 mobility scoring system.
Ruth Clements, Head of Veterinary Programmes, FAI, said:
“Lameness is one of the foremost health and welfare challenges facing the UK dairy industry, but this research shows that regular mobility scoring can help detect mobility problems earlier, while still being reasonably practical for farmers. This enables intervention before cows become severely lame, by which time their welfare and productivity are likely affected.”
Connor McVeigh, Director of Supply Chain, McDonald’s UK, said:
“As a big customer of British and Irish agriculture, we know how important it is to create a sustainable future for the sector. That’s why we are committed to developing and sharing knowledge that will help farmers improve welfare standards and run more profitable businesses.”