by Amanda Smith, Associate Editor
"The day your cows calve, they need to have on the best running shoes that you can give them," noted Karl Burgi, Sure Step Consulting, at the Leading Dairy Producers Conference.
"If a cow is lame at transition or peak lactation, she will not recover as well. A cow can deal with 0.25 inch of growth on the outside claw. If growth exceeds this, the chances of early lactation lameness rise drastically. The higher the outside claw gets, the more we lose the inside claw, which forces cows to stand cow hocked," Burgi said.
Furthermore, cows that stand for long periods of time have a greater risk for hoof trauma. "Cows have good circulation when they walk or lie down and poor circulation when they're standing," he explained.
Locomotion scoring is a simple way to find lame cows earlier and get them to the trimmer. Approximately 95 percent of all lesions occur in the rear limbs; of these lesions, digital dermatitis is the most prevalent. "By trimming springing heifers, we can reduce digital dermatitis rates and virtually eliminate lameness in the first lactation," he noted.
"Sole ulcers, white line disease, which always occurs on the outside claw, and hairy warts, though, cost us the most money. These are also the three lesions that can be resolved with trimming," Burgi added.
"Every sole ulcer, which occurs under the pedal bone, requires a block for prompt recovery. Toe ulcers, too, have become more prevalent over the past decade due to rough concrete and coarse sand in housing areas," Burgi continued.
Hoof horn is produced at 3/16 of an inch per month. Thin soles, or when wear exceeds growth, are a huge problem on larger dairies as pen size and walking distances exceed claw capabilities. Thin soles should be blocked with plastic blocks, not trimmed," Burgi said.
"Blocks may be a curse for the manure pump," Burgi concluded, "but they save cows that put milk in the tank."
February 23, 2015