Make sure that your cows use their cubicles properly, he says. “They need to be using them to get off their feet and if they are standing half in and half out of the cubicles it can cause foot problems. Take the opportunity now to get the cubicles right for the cow.”
This is also a good time to consider cow flow in the housing, says Bruce. “You want to avoid dead ends so that timid cows or heifers are not stopped getting where they want to go by the cows higher up the pecking order.”
“Go through the ration with your account manager and nutritionist sooner rather than later so that you can evaluate your stocks. If you think you may run out of anything now is the time to plan for that. In particular if it looks likely that there is less than 180 days’ supply of silage a moist feed might be a suitable alternative to extend what you have.”
If your cows have been grazing over the summer months they will have clean feet, says Bruce. “Let’s keep them that way. We advise that farms hygiene score and generally pay attention to how clean their cows are which will help with prevention of digital dermatitis.
“We also recommend locomotion scoring the herd,” he continues. “Anything that’s lame don’t delay in picking its feet up and sorting it out.”
Your hoof health plan should also include maintenance of flooring. “Cows need to be able to walk confidently on concrete floors. Check your flooring and add grooves where needed. As always prevention of any foot problems is always better than cure.”