Improving cow mobility is a significant opportunity for dairy farm success and cow well-being, and heritability estimates indicate that genetic selection is one tool to address lameness. With these facts, CDCB and University of Minnesota (UMN) College of Veterinary Medicine initiated a project in July 2021, with the end goal to develop herd management tools and a hoof health genetic evaluation.
To identify and measure a relevant genetic trait, a data pipeline is necessary to capture phenotypic information (mainly collected by hoof trimmers and relevant digital technologies), genomic data, and general production and management information.
One on-farm data source being piloted in the CDCB-UMN project is a Video Analytic Platform (VAP) by CattleEye. This system has been operational since July 2021 on the first pilot farm of 3000 cows in northwest Iowa. A comparison of CattleEye observations with hoof health data collected by trained hoof trimmers and farm managers has demonstrated the ability to differentiate between cows with and without lesions.
Preliminary results indicate that:
1. Locomotion scores collected by the VAP are associated with hoof lesions, and are significantly higher in cows reported as having a hoof lesion.
2. There are challenges to collecting and combining data obtained from multiple different sources such as CattleEye, on-farm management software, genotypes, and hoof trimming records.
3. Further work is needed to understand the relationship between locomotion scores from the VAP and specific hoof lesion records.
4. There is an increase in the number of hoof trimmers with enhanced knowledge regarding standard trimming procedures and hoof lesions.
5. Dairy farmers, veterinarians, and hoof trimmers are gaining awareness about the CDCB-UMN hoof health project.
More Information: CDCB and UMN will share more detail on the preliminary findings and next steps through a series of upcoming articles and presentations.