The benefit of foot treatment in dairy cows

Monday 13 February 2012
The benefit of foot treatment in dairy cows

Digital dermatitis, although a real problem, is often considered the major problem for all dairy herds, when in fact this is not always case. 

This was the key point made at a presentation given by farmer Tim Blackshaw to Bollin Farmers Group in Cheshire into the benefits of foot treatment and knowing what is causing the problem.

Tim produced a draft document outlining that the keeping of records was of real importance when treating foot problems.  Identifying the problem being equally important as the treatment.

It is most expensive:-

A routine programme of treatment when cows dry off is most important for your dairy cows. Tim believes you should have a contract foot trimmer, as he specialises in the subject, to visit the farm on a routine basis, probably monthly.  All cows drying off (all four feet) should be inspected and treated as required.  This would maintain an excellent foot profile in the dairy herd.

Maintaining excellent feet will allow the dairy cow (or young stock) to express their full potential.  It is estimated the benefit of four good feet will be £80 to £100 per cow per lactation, a return of around £10,000 per 100-cow herd per annum.  Approximate cost would be about £20 per cow per annum or £2,000 per annum cost, a return to the sum of £8,000.

Apart from regular foot inspections, the cows should be run through a foot-bath twice a week.  One foot-bath being merely water but the other being copper sulphate, formic acid or some recommended equivalent.  Trying to maintain hard feet is of the utmost importance.

Standing in slurry is a real disadvantage to the dairy cow. Scraping out passages, particularly in winter, as frequently as possible will help to maintain feet.

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