Impact of Feeding on Foot Health
Michael F. Hutjens
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Lameness can lead to a loss of $122 per cow annually.
Genetics, cow comfort, and feeding will impact lameness.
Feeding programs can minimize lameness and risk to the hoof.
Lameness scoring should be conducted monthly to assess hoof and foot
soundness with a herd less than 1.4 score average.
Foot health or lameness has moved up to the second most expensive
disorder that dairy cattle experience (mastitis is first). English
workers reported 60 cases of lameness per 100 cows annually. Wisconsin
researchers reported 73 cases per 100 cows in 30 herds (15 free-stall
and 15 conventional herds averaging 23,060 pounds of milk). The cost
was estimated at $122 per cow with lameness, hairy heel wart at $88
per case, sole ulcers at $369 per case, and horn disease at $227 per
case. English workers measured a loss of 2.4 pounds of milk per day
or 700 pounds per lactation per case of lameness. Foot disorders have
increased recently for several reasons.
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