Manage cow flow better to reduce lameness

Cow flow is one of the key factors affecting lameness levels on dairy farms.

New Zealand vet Neil Chesterton believes reducing forces on the feet through improved cow comfort and flow have a significant role to play in reducing foot damage.

Promoting good cow flow will also reduce cow stress and boost dairy farm efficiencies, he says.

DairyCo extension officer, Jo Speed, believes the way in which cattle are moved and handled, as well as the surface they walk on will ultimately affect mobility.

“We need to consider how walking on cow tracks, handling in and around the milking parlour and buildings in general, all contribute,” she says.

There are a number of practical ways to minimise foot damage on existing systems or by altering new or existing buildings.

“Even changing the way backing gates are used can make a difference to cow stress and help prevent lameness,” she explains.

Mr Chesteron will be discussing practical ways to reduce lameness as part of a series of open farm meetings organised as part of DairyCo’s Healthy Feet programme.

As well offering innovative suggestions to minimise foot damage, the meeting will also look at the four Healthy Feet programme success factors to getting on top of lameness. These include low infection pressure, good horn quality and hoof shape, low forces on the feet, early detection and prompt effective treatment of lame cows.

The meetings will take place at the following locations, with further details available at

Somerset – 7 August

Dorset – 8 August

Devon – 9 August

Gloucestershire – 20 August

Pembrokeshire – 21 August

Cheshire – 22 August

Galloway – 26 August

Yorkshire – 27 August

Lancashire – 29 August

Cumbria – 30 August

To book a place contact DairyCo on 024 7647 8707

The event is registered with DairyPro and worth five points.

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