National lameness database moves a step closer

The industry is one step closer to producing a national database on cattle lameness problems, thanks to DairyCo.

As part of the DairyCo Animal Health and Welfare scheme and with the help of Nottingham Vet School, information on specific foot problems is now being condensed.

Speaking at the Dairy Event and Livestock Show, DairyCo knowledge transfer project manager, Kate Cross, said the aim was to have a minimum of 5000 cow records by the end of the year.

“We often hear people say 25% of the national herd is lame at one time, but the question is, what type of lameness?”

The company’s decision comes after advice from DairyCo extension officer, Jo Speed following her Nuffield Scholarship on cattle lameness.

“The trouble is there is no national prevention programme to support farmer decision-making,” she said.

“We need a one-stop-shop for lameness information. The fact we don’t know what the UK’s specific problems are, is holding the industry up.”

Along with the National Association of Cattle Foot Trimmers, DairyCo has developed a lameness recording sheet that includes three carbon copies – an idea picked up by Ms Speed from the USA.

“By having a number of copies detailing lameness records, it is easy to supply vets, farmers and advisers with the information to make decisions.”

All category one foot trimmers are now using the carbon copy recording sheets, allowing a copy to also be sent to DairyCo, so data can be condensed into a central database.

“This will allow us to build up a picture of what we are dealing with in the UK and get on top of any specific issues.”