Missouri Dairy Business Update  
Volume 4, Number 11
November 2004

Culling: Impact of Feeding on Foot Health
Michael F. Hutjens

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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