Our RoMS-qualifying mobility scoring course

On 10th Jan I ran a mobility scoring course which qualified the attendees to go on the Register of Mobility Scorers. We learned about lameness, the cost of lameness to the UK dairy industry and to individual farmers. Then we got onto the role that early detection plays in making things better. And how mobility scoring is the first step towards reducing lameness and cutting that often forgotten cost of having a lameness problem. We set our boundaries for the mobility scores in the AHDB Mobility Scoring system - from 0 (perfect locomotion) to 3 (severe lameness), using videos of other people mobility scoring. Then after lunch we went to a local dairy farm and practised what we had learnt. The scoring itself is not the complicated bit in real life - it's keeping safe, choosing a place to stand where you get a good enough view without influencing the cows and feeding back your findings to the farm staff.

This was one of the places we tried mobility scoring the cows. We had good vision of the cows from the side, could identify the cows from their freeze brands and were not impacting the way most of the cows walked... the more nosey ones stopped to look, but most kept on walking back to their feed. The surface under foot was flat, with good grip and no obstacles.

If you are interested in joining one of our future mobility scoring courses, see the details here:

Mobility Scoring Course

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Footbathing- Key points

I was lucky to attend a lameness workshop at Kemble Farms with their vet, Mike Sandiford of The George Vet Group, Malmesbury.

One of the stations was on footbathing and was run by Dr. Arturo Gomez from Wisconsin. Dr Gomez did his PHD on Digital Dermatitis and there seems to be nothing he doesn’t know about it. I was amazed at how much enthusiasm one person can ooze on Digital Dermatitis alone!

He started by getting us to measure the footbath in order to check the concentration of footbathing solution had been done correctly. Surprisingly, it was found that the concentration was slightly too weak for the volume of the footbath. It is therefore definitely worth a revisit to make sure the concentration is right on your farm. After all, there is little point of the hassle and cost of footbathing if it is not making the difference it could be making!

So, here is how to do it in a nutshell:


Length(m) x width(m) x depth(m) x 1000 = number of litres

So, this footbath was:

4m x 2m  x  0.1m  x 1000 =  800 litres

Now, multiply:

Litres of water x % solution desired = kg of dry product to add

So, we want a 5% solution:

800 x 0.05 (5% solution) = 40kg of dry product is required for this footbath.

The guidelines for footbaths are:

2.5-3m long x 1m wide x 15cm deep = 450 litres.

General guidelines suggest 1 litre of footbath per cow. So, if you had 600 cows and a 300 litre footbath, you would need to either change the footbath half way through milking, or split the herd into 2 and do one group per milking. However, this was questioned somewhat by Dr Gomez who said that if the dimensions, concentration and hygiene correct (ie no dung in the footbath, they you can get away with more cows than the suggested 1 cow per litre but, in general, depending on the dimensions of the footbath, you would want to be changing every milking.

He also reminded us that, if you are in an area of hard water and you wish to use Copper Sulphate, you would need to use an acidifier.

Although it has historically been recommended to locate an extra, water-only footbath preceding the treatment bath, this is no longer recommended as the second treatment bath can often end up full of dung. It is very important, however that, whatever the dimensions and set up of the footbath, it is done in such a way that the cows cannot step out to the side. If they have a sore foot and they can keep it out of the solution then they will.

Other points for the checklist:

  • Important that the footbath is 10-15cm deep to ensure adequate coverage of foot area
  • Throughly drain footbath and rinse with water before mixing a new bath of solution
  • Alternate times for replenishing footbaths with fresh solution so each group of cows has access to fresh solution
  • Cows should enter a clean, dry area after passing through the footbath
  • Footbaths are most effective at treating disease of the interdigital skin such as dermatitis and footrot
  • It is recommended hat footbaths be used at least 3-4 days per week.


This worshop was run by Zinpro Performance Minerals

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No More Lame Excuses

Here is another really good webinar on lameness with Nigel Cook. Worth a watch if you have some time to fill. Better than watching Loose Women!

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