One small step for giant leap for managing lameness

Almost no dairy farm is immune to it. It silently saps the hard-earned profits of many dairies. Some dairymen aren’t even aware how serious the problem is. Typically a stealth illness at onset, it isn’t readily detectible until financial losses have occurred. Dairy operators who recognize its seriousness are frustrated on how to get on top of it. We’re talking about lameness.

An Estimated 20% Afflicted

Every year an estimated 20% of all dairy cattle experience clinical levels of lameness. The costs in lost revenue can be significant.

“Lameness can cost producers up to $9,000 per 100 cows in one year alone.”

Dr. Chuck Guard
College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell University

“Lameness is the third most common disorder in dairy cattle next to mastitis and reproduction failure.”

Dr. Jan Shearer
Dairy Extension Veterinarian
University of Florida

Lameness Facts

On any given day, 5% to 35% of cows in a typical herd are affected by subclinical or clinical lameness. Almost 60% of lameness associated with foot diseases is caused by foot rot and white line abscesses. Another 25% is caused by laminitis and hairy foot warts. Sole ulcers and heel erosions make up the rest.

12% Upper Leg
88 % Foot problems
(90% of foot problems are located
in the rear feet)

A Multi-Functional Problem

Lameness involves: dairy facility design, dairy facility hygiene, proper nutrition and proper foot care management. Certainly all of these areas must be monitored and managed closely to keep lameness under control.

Until Now, No Accurate Detection Method

Even though lameness is so damaging and costly, the only diagnostic tool available, up until now, has been human observation. And human observation is time consuming, requires special training, is so subjective and is often inaccurate. Plus, by the time lameness can be seen visually, the problem may have already existed for up to two months affecting milk yield, reproduction performance and profitability.

Early, Accurate, Constant

Never before has there been such a powerful, real time diagnostic tool that can put dairy lameness management at your fingertips early before losses escalate. Seven days a week, 365 days a year StepMetrix automatically identifies and monitors the soundness or lameness of every cow in your heard—typically detecting problems before visual symptoms become apparent. StepMetrix is also many times more accurate than human observation could ever hope to be.

Three Main Components

StepMetrix consists of these components:

Step Sensor Platform:
Permanently installed in parlour return lanes.

SMX Score Controller :
Analyzes cows’ steps, generating and transmitting SMX scores to your PC.

StepMetrix Management Software :
Installed on your PC. Allows you to analyze SMX scores and generate reports.

How It Works

Your cows simply walk across the Step Sensor platform after each milking. The SMX Score Controller identifies each cow and analyzes the force and duration of her steps. The result is a numeric value expressed as an SMXTM score for each hind leg that is automatically transmitted to your PC.

SMX Scores are the Key see the 2 pics on pdf that support this section

SMX scores are used to identify and track lameness on individual cows, groups of cows or the whole herd; track lameness relative to nutrition, treatment efficacy and lameness-prevention procedures; and, for a host of other useful herd management purposes. It is simple and easy to put StepMetrix into action. Just view SMX reports daily and practice the SMX Lameness Management protocol to attain the best results. The Cow Snapshot Report, one of the many StepMetrix reports, lists SMX Scores in descending order from highest (severely lame) to lowest (sound). In just minutes you can assemble a list of cows for examination or treatment.

Farm Trials Prove Accuracy

In farm trials, StepMetrix has consistently averaged over 85% accuracy in detecting soundness or lameness in individual cows, including cows with out-of-balance hooves or similar maladies that require treatment. And it did so weeks earlier than human observation.

Take the Next Step

Find out how StepMetrix can immediately go to work to help you minimize the losses attributed to lameness. Ask your BouMatic dealer for an analysis of your dairy. Let us help you take the next step.

“Viewing StepMetrix reports has become an important part of my daily routine. I look for cows that score lame for the first time and those that score lame on two consecutive days. I track those cows for a couple of days and examine any that continue to score lame. I lift both hind legs and most of the time I’ll find foot rot or the beginning of hairy wart. I treat the foot and then follow those cows’ scores for a few days. I believe StepMetrix information creates more awareness of foot health in the herd and helps raise overall management a notch or two. Our foot health is getting better and better. Culling for foot problems is rare now. I used to have to cull a couple of cows a month.”

Mitch Breunig
Mystic Valley Dairy LLC
Sauk City, WI
400 cows milking 3x
95 – 100 lbs/cow daily average

“With StepMetrix, we catch 50% more cows with foot problems than we were catching visually or from biweekly hoof trimmings. We rely on SMX Scores to find cows that need to be added to the regular biweekly hoof trim list. We like being able to track lameness by groups. For example, we saw SMX Scores in the heifer group improve after we made a minor change in their ration.”

Sharon Zimmerman
Meadow View Farms
Reinholds, PA
550 cows milking 3x
22,500 RHA

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