Cows with higher locomotion score, flatter, more refined bones and better leg and feet composite are less prone to digital dermatitis, according to research from SAC.

And the same traits are also associated with a longer lifespan, the study highlighted. Onyemauchechi Onyiro found the overall incidence of digital dermatitis to be 12% when assessing data from 93,391 type evaluations of Holstein Friesian cows from 4571 herds.

“The genetic variance of digital dermatitis was significantly high and incidence of digital dermatitis was moderately associated with lifespan, milk yield and fat percentage of milk. However, the correlations between digital dermatitis showed that an increased incidence of digital dermatitis was assocaited with a shorter calving interval and a higher conception rate.”