Lameness reduced to 5% through early diagnosis and treatment 

Dairy farmers Jim and Trine Campbell, from Castle Douglas, have been recognised for their outstanding efforts and commitment to reducing lameness on farm at the prestigious Cream Awards 2020.

The Zero Lameness Award, sponsored by CowAlert, is a new category within the Cream Awards for 2020. Its aim is to highlight the significance of lameness as a welfare issue which impacts on animal health, fertility and productivity and to recognise the efforts that many farmers are making to reduce its prevalence.

The Campbells, who are currently milking around 550 dairy cattle at Cuil Farm, have made a concerted effort to tackle lameness, signing up to IceRobotics’ advanced monitoring technology, CowAlert.

The impact of this decision has been immense as they have now reduced their lameness figure to just 5% through adopting an early diagnosis and treatment approach.

Judge of the Zero Lameness Award, Dr. Nick Bell, said that the Campbells’ award entry stood out due to the team’s ‘ambitious, innovative, bold and effective approach…using robust data to make measurable improvements, considering prevention herd level as well as welfare at the individual cow level.’

Trine Campbell commented, “We’re delighted to be recognised at these Awards and welcome the opportunity to share our experience of tackling lameness on farm. We’ve reduced our lameness stats from around 10-12% to just 5% over the last two years – largely thanks to the CowAlert lameness module. We no longer use manual mobility scoring, and instead use the amber and red alerts to select cows for the foot trimmers in addition to routine trims, based on a schedule of one trim per cow per year. Foot trimmers visit every fortnight and will attend to 50 cows on average, with a mix of routine trims and alerted cows from the CowAlert system.

“Automatic mobility scoring frees up our time, and we know it’s much more accurate as it’s based on 24/7 data. We find that our lameness level is now so low that an acutely lame cow is spotted very quickly by staff. But we also know that any lameness that is missed will be picked up by the monitoring system.  Using the lameness module, we can move alerted cows onto a trim list, and then enter a diagnosis once the cause is found, enabling easy tracking of each animal. Our ultimate goal is to eliminate lameness from our herd, and we will continue to work towards this target because it is good for the animals, good for production, and ultimately good for the business.”

Douglas Armstrong, CEO of IceRobotics, added: “I congratulate the Campbells on their success. Lameness is one of the most challenging aspects of dairy farming and it is encouraging to see what can be achieved by hard work, dedication and a determination to having a zero tolerance to lameness on the farm.

“Early detection is key, and it’s estimated that on average farmers only recognise 25% of these early stage lame cows by sight. The average cost of a lameness case is £320 per cow, this combined with the impact on fertility and milk production makes lameness potentially the largest source of economic loss on the farm. So, technology which helps to identify early stage lame cows allowing the problem to be nipped in the bud can make a huge impact on a farmer’s bottom line.  We hope that other farmers will benefit from hearing about the Campbells’ lameness prevention strategy and can apply these learnings to their own operations.  Reducing lameness on farm not only enhances animal well-being, it also leads to improved fertility, productivity, and ultimately better job satisfaction.”

Learn More

Learn more on CowAlert’s Lameness and mobility monitoring modules by clicking here.