Lameness is often recognized as one of the main reasons for culling in dairy herds. Many studies around the world have found that the incidence of lameness in dairy farms is about 50% of cattle. Lame cows present:
- Decreased milk production
- Fewer pregnant cows
- Many cows going to slaughter
- More management of these cows
- More milk is eliminated
Researchers estimate that 2% of clinical cases of cows with lameness die and that 20% are discarded. The economic losses associated with lameness in dairy cattle are between $ 300 and $ 350 for each clinical case.
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Because you have to
In a 1,000-cow dairy, this means a cost of over $ 100,000 for this concept. Can you ignore this problem?
The reasons why a cow may be lame are complex because many of the factors may be interrelated with one another; however, the main reason why cows limp is mainly based on cows that are walking on sloppy (non-aligned) hooves, with an imbalance of the weight-support ratio.
Excess weight on one of the hoof toes or excessive wear and / or growth makes cows more likely to become lame. Therefore, it is necessary for cow hooves to be checked and trimmed for two reasons:
- regain the distribution of the cow’s weight between the toes of the hooves and between the legs of the cow.
- early detection of lesions on the feet of cows.
It is important to recognize that not all cows being checked require trimming because excessive trimming of the hooves can create a higher incidence of lameness.
Horny hoof growth
Before balancing the surfaces that distribute the weight of the cow, it is important to understand the growth of the hoof, the distribution of the weight of the cow on the hoof and the anatomy of the cow’s feet.
Consider the horny growth of the hooves: The hoof of the cow can be valued as a modified skin. The lateral wall of the hoof grows approximately 1/4 inch per month while the sole of the hoof grows at a rate of 1/8 inch per month.
The actual growth rate of the hoof is affected by many factors such as the environment where the cow is (dirt floor vs. concrete), breed of the animal, nutrition, blood flow to the hoof and the distribution of the weight of the cow in the hooves. The interaction of these factors causes the shape of the hoof to change over time.
Because you need to
The shape of the hoof is determined by the growth rate and the rate of hoof wear. Hoof wear can be affected by many factors, but the most important are nutrition, management, and design of dairy facilities.
While many factors are necessary for proper dairy cow leg health, the reality is this: Dairy producers who have resolved to actively manage lameness in their dairies confirm that cows with healthy, pain-free legs They eat, produce and reproduce better. In addition, these cows have a greater chance of staying longer in the herd, producing long-term gains for the herd.
Grass-fed cows give the healthiest milk
A study by the Mabegondo Agrarian Research Center (CIAM), dependent on the Xunta, in collaboration with the Galego Interprofessional Laboratory of Análise do Leite (Ligal), confirms that the milk of cows fed by grazing and based on grass has a composition that it is more beneficial to human health.
Several projects financed by the Xunta and the National Institute for Agrarian Research confirmed that there are two models of cow’s milk production in Galicia: a minority based on small extensive farms, with less productive and longer-lived cows that consume fresh pastures and silage; and a more intensive majority, based on forage crops and with less long-lived high-production cows.
The studies conclude that in both cases the milk has an “extraordinary” quality, according to the Ministry of Rural Affairs, but the composition varies according to the feeding of the animals. Thus, in grazing farms, milk has a higher concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids and bioactive fat-soluble antioxidants.
On farms that have stabled animals, bioactive compounds increase when the diet combines grass and corn, instead of being made up of this cereal in a massive way.
The experimental results confirmed that the composition of the profile of fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants improves when grazing is used and, to a lesser extent, when silage grass is included in the cows’ diet.
Experts highlighted that the production of cow’s milk is a “strategic” activity in Galicia and pointed out that “the growing demand” for healthy products, respectful of the environment and committed to animal welfare “opens the possibility of occupying a market niche with more and more output “.
Cattle get stressed too
Cows, like people, also tend to get stressed, and this is due to various causes: temperature, lack of adequate feed or confined spaces. Therefore, it is important that you consider these recommendations:
- Cattle must have fresh water within reach, especially in hot seasons.
- Food too, like water, should also be within your reach all the time.
- Food and beverages must be served in clean containers, without pollutants such as detergents.
- Cows need wide spaces for their movement.
- High ceilings are also quite useful, as they protect the animal from the weather.
- Cattle feeding is a very important pillar in this sense, for dairy cows and fattening cows, because through a balanced diet, their immune system will be more fortified.
Remember that it is essential to take care of your cattle’s hooves as well, here at Victorian Hoof Care Services you can forget about limping because we will take care of cattle’s hooves properly and help you keep your cow healthy and strong for dairy production. You can trust real experts in the area with many years of experience in the field of hoof care.