Farm roadways play a key role in grazing management on dairy farms, so ensuring they are maintained to high level is important.
The increased cost of materials has seen many farmers delay investments in farm infrastructure upgrades, which is understandable.
However, investment in farm roadways should not be put on hold as they play a key role in reducing lameness cases.
A single case of lameness could, potentially, cost €350, owing to loss in production, reduced fertility performance, the cost of treatment and culling – so keeping the number of cases to a minimum should be the aim.
Reducing the number of cows requiring treatment not only saves time and money, but also keeps cows heathier and in the herd for longer.
It is important to note, however, that there is almost a zero chance of completely eliminating lameness cases.
Maintaining farm roadways
Having a good road surface for cows to walk on is a key control measure to reduce lameness on farms.
Highly trafficked areas are most likely to need regular upkeep. Once such area is the parlour entrance and exit, which is more likely to wear quicker than others.
Regular maintenance of these areas is important to ensure they do not cause an increased number lameness cases.
It is also important to continue to monitor other farm roadways. Cows can often give a good indication of areas that need work. For example, cows walking in single file can often indicate that a surface is too hard or has sharp edges.