Being linked with this programme really does give us access to some superb specialists and today it was Jo Speed, the mobility specialist from DairyCo who joined us to share her knowledge and experiences.
She explained that there are 4 months of depressed yield before a cow shows any clinical signs of foot problems. Coupled with poor fertility and mastitis this means a lame cow can generate a loss of more than £500 in terms of treatment and milk income.
Thankfully at Clive Hall, and across all Grasslands farms we have a very strict policy for both condition and mobility scoring. This is partly needed to fulfill the requirements of our supermarket liquid milk contract, but the process is valuable to us identifying and dealing with cows as early as possible, increasing welfare and minimising the impact on yield and profits.
It is also vitally important all the youngstock are assessed too as Jo explained that veterinary research had shown that a cow with a lameness problem in her heifer lactation was three-times more likely to be lame in her second lactation.
Grasslands have been working closely with our vet Ed Haynes from Wright and Morten Vet Group to develop a plan on how the mobility of the herd can be improved.
In addition to regular mobility scoring, maintaining tracks and regular foot bathing are other preventative methods that are being put in place across Grasslands farms. A more structured policy for foot trimming, targeting the cows scoring a 2 has been identified as critical, catching the cows before they become severely lame. It is also vital to regularly walk the routes the cows take to identify any potential problem areas.