As the workload eases on the farm after a busy calving and breeding season now might be a good time to assess where improvements can be made on the farm both financially and labour saving, according to Teagasc.
One of the hidden costs when it comes to milking cows is lameness. It can also take up a lot of valuable time if the cow has to be kept in a separate paddock or increases the length of time it takes to get the cows to and from the milking parlour.
When everything is included the cost of dairy cow lameness could be up to €300 per case, not to mention reduced animal welfare and the hassle factor of lame cows.
Work carried out by Moorepark showed a lameness rate of 4% in spring and over 7% in autumn, but with a large range across herds. Cows with problems in the spring were 10 times more likely to re-appear as lame in the autumn.
The main lameness causes for a grazing herd are mechanical, e.g., bruising, white line disease, ulcers, as opposed to infectious, e.g., Mortellaro, foul in the foot.
The priorities are therefore related to surfaces and managing cow flow around milking times.
Now is a good time to address issues on the farm before we move into the highest risk time of year. Here are some things to implement.
Now is a good time to act on any adjustments that need to be made while weather conditions are good and before we enter the high risk period i.e. when cows are heavier in-calf and ground conditions become soft.
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