The dairy farming industry has benefitted from strategic animal-husbandry changes and lameness-control programmes.
Lameness costs the dairy industry approximately £125 million per year. In 2008, AHDB Dairy (formerly known as DairyCo), a not-for-profit organisation working on behalf of Britain’s dairy farmers, launched a new lameness management tool called the ADHB Dairy Mobility Scoring System, developed with the University of Bristol. ADHB Dairy subsequently distributed information on this scoring tool to farmers around the UK.
In 2013, the Mobility Scoring System was included in the Red Tractor Dairy Assurance Scheme, which certifies over 90 per cent of UK dairy production. Inclusion in this scheme means that the industry can prioritise support for farms with high levels of lameness. Danone (Europe’s largest dairy company) is promoting use of the scoring system to over 27,000 farms. The implementation of Bristol’s husbandry advice on farms resulted in a reduction in lameness in 74 per cent of participating farms as of April 2013.
As a direct result of University of Bristol research. The Dairy Cattle Mobility Steering group was formed in 2013. This group endeavours to engage with all parts of the dairy industry to promote achievable, affordable and effective measures to minimise lameness and maximise mobility in the GB dairy herd, towards the ultimate aim of eradicating severe lameness.
Bristol’s lameness research has resulted in welfare benefits for dairy cows, reductions in lameness, and improved profitability of dairy farms in the UK and overseas.
“The AHDB Dairy Mobility Scoring system, which was developed with the University of Bristol in conjunction with farmers, veterinary surgeons and other animal health and welfare organisations will help dairy farmers make important progress towards diagnosing the problems, devising an action plan, and develop the skills necessary for long-term lameness control” ADHB Dairy.