Entries for the Zero Lameness Award are now open, enter here! 

Zero Lameness Award

Just as health and well-being is a key focus for the business world today, so too it has risen up the agenda in the agri-food sector, where sustainability and good stewardship are priorities for those working and living in the farming community.

One area where this has been evidenced is in the drive to tackle lameness in the dairy herd and it is one is gaining momentum.

It is also the reason why the IceRobotics team regards the Cream Awards 2021 as the best opportunity to celebrate all that is good in UK farming and to recognise those who, alongside productivity, have prioritised the health and well-being of their dairy herd.

Committed to reducing lameness

Following a great response from our inaugural sponsorship in 2020, IceRobotics is delighted to be backing this very important award for the second consecutive year and we would encourage dairy farmers who are committed to reducing lameness to consider entering.

Last year’s winners, Jim and Trine Campbell from Castle Douglas, are further proof that making a concerted effort to tackle lameness pays dividends. The farming duo, who milk a 550 dairy herd at Cuil Farm are committed users of IceRobotic’s advanced monitoring technology – CowAlert.

The Campbells

By adopting a system of early diagnosis and treatment, the Campbells saw their lameness figure reduce to just 5% over a two-year period. CowAlert’s automatic mobility scoring has freed up their time and with 24/7 monitoring providing highly accurate data, their drive to eliminate lameness from their herd is within their reach.

This was endorsed by the judges who described the Campbell’s management style as ‘ambitious, innovative, bold and effective’.

Of course, like the rest of society, the agri-community has been hit by the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak, particularly with the closure of the food service market and slashing of milk prices.

Key Workers

But unlike other sectors, farm work has not stopped. Indeed, the role played by farmers in feeding the nation has seen their ‘key worker’ status highlighted as never before and reinforced a strong sense of resilience across the sector.

Times of crisis such as these focus attention on farm efficiencies – driving down unnecessary costs and adopting an uncompromising approach to effective herd management.

With social distancing guidelines equally applying to the farmyard, CowAlert has offered a very practical bonus, enabling vets and consultants to remotely monitor herd health, avoiding personal contact and creating much needed time and expenditure savings.

Widely recognised as one of the most significant problems affecting dairy farming due to its impact on fertility and productivity, each case of lameness is estimated to cost a farmer an average £320 per cow (Willshire & Bell 2009).

Research has also indicated that manual scoring of lameness results in only one in every four cows being identified as problematic. This adds up to a debilitating cost which few farmers can afford to overlook.

Thankfully bespoke technology – such as CowAlert – can provide an effective solution. Indeed, we believe there’s never been a better time for the industry to grasp the longer term significance of this entirely fixable issue.

This is entirely validated and supported by the research community and follows widescale data gathering and analysis trials in Europe, the USA and New Zealand. Backed by this knowledge, CowAlert is enabling farmers, vets, nutritionists, and other farming professionals to work together, analysing the key data and making informed decisions which ultimately leads to better farm performances and healthier herds.

This level of innovation is clearly driving the dairy industry forward. This is also why we want to continue to recognise and reward those farmers who are committed to innovative farming and to doing what they can to tackle lameness head-on.

Zero Lameness Award 2021

Once again, Dr Nick Bell, MRCVS will be leading the judging panel of the Zero Lameness Award.  As a member of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine Nick is a leading expert on lameness and its impact of positive farm management.

Encouraging farmers to enter he said:

“Lameness is the biggest and most visible welfare issue facing the dairy industry. The pioneers and innovators like the Campbells are showing how we don’t have to live with lame cows. Even better, by investing in welfare such as lameness control and cow comfort, the cows live longer, perform better and are easier to manage. Effort today will have immediate and visible benefits at all levels. This is what makes the Zero Lameness Award so exciting. It is a win for everyone.

“Jim and Trine Campbell have set a high bar for future entrants with their entry in 2020 but I’m aware there have been many others that recognise the importance for the cow, staff and business when it comes to preventing and managing lameness. I look forward to seeing another set of strong contenders for 2021.”

Applications for the Zero Lameness Award 2021 are being accepted now, follow this link to enter.