Dairy producers get new tool to reduce lameness

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Dairy producers get new tool to reduce lameness

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May 26, 2009
By dvm360.com staff
Madison, Wis. -- A new software program has been developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that will help dairy farmers troubleshoot and reduce lameness in their herds.

The "First Step" software was created by Dr. Nigel Cook, head of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine's Food Animal Production Medicine department. His work was sponsored by Zinpro Corp., which manufactures and markets organic trace mineral complexes for animal feeds.

The software program provides a methodical way to capture data and store information, according to the college. Farmers can enter 20 different areas that can affect cow lameness, including bedding, walking surfaces, hoof trimming, and other environmental factors. Once these factors have been identified and entered, the program compares the farmer's data against industry standards and creates a set of automated reports that can be used to target an individual farmer's problem.

"The program helps the consultant determine the most significant areas to focus on," Cook says. "It's a trouble-shooting tool. It identifies why that farm in particular is having a problem."

The program, which took five years to develop, will be used by Zinpro support staff and its network of support staff to train veterinarians and others in the dairy industry on the software so they can aid farmers.