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McDonalds UK & FAI join forces to help Dairy farmers deal with lameness in their herds
July 9, 2014

The Food Animal Initiative (FAI) have joined forces with fast food giants McDonald’s UK to develop a practical tool to help dairy farmers deal with lameness in their herds.

The Mobility Score Decision Tree, which is free to download, has been designed to aid mobility scoring and reduce production losses in their cattle.

Lindsey Carnell, from North Somerset, is one of the first farmers to put the tool to the test. Miss Carnell, who is a student on McDonald’s Progressive Young Farmer training programme, is collecting data on a dairy farm in Staffordshire to see what impact housing and location can have on lameness within a herd.

She said: “With FAI’s help I’ve been mobility scoring dairy cows immediately after milking. By collecting and analysing data about the farm’s 420 dairy cows in different housing and locations, I wanted to identify what impact this has on a herd and identify practical ways to improve mobility.”

The analysis undertaken by the FAI and funded by McDonald’s as part of its long-term sustainability programme Farm Forward highlighted that regular mobility scoring could help farmers detect and tackle lameness earlier and reduce losses. Primary data was collected over a three-year study on four dairy farms across the South West, supported by the Dartington Cattle Breeding Trust.

This analysis comes amidst growing concern from the dairy industry about the cost of lameness. DairyCo estimate that the cost to farmers, including treatment costs, loss of yield and a potentially shorter productive life, could equate to nearly ÂŁ15,000 for an average-sized herd.

Connor McVeigh, director of supply chain at McDonald’s UK, said: “As a big customer of British and Irish agriculture, we know how important it is to create a sustainable future for the sector. That’s why we are committed to developing and sharing knowledge that will help farmers improve welfare standards and run more profitable businesses.”

To download the Mobility Score Decision Tree click here

Source: Western Morning News




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