26 March 1999

Top herds cut lameness costs

LAMENESS costs a herd with average incidence about £40 a cow, but for the top 25% of producers that is cut to £13 a cow, says Dick Esslemont senior lecturer at Reading University.

The worst 25% of herds are wasting £68 a cow on lameness a year, according to a DAISY survey. That is a difference of £27 between average and top 25% herds and £55 between the worst and best herds, Dr Esslemont told last weeks National Cattle Lameness Conference sponsored by the MDC and farmers weekly.

He believes that all producers should aim to be in the top 25% for lameness. That means aver-aging 11 cases/100 cows a year, rather than 39 for average herds and 73 for the worst group of herds.

"Quality assurance schemes mean herds with a lot of lameness will not be able sell milk in the future."

He advised planning to reduce lameness to that achieved by top herds over three years in conjunction with a vet. That amounts to a fall of 10-15 cases a year for herds with average incidence now.

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