Winter may be winding down, but muddy conditions persist in dry lots, which can lead to lameness problems. Dale Moore, extension veterinarian with Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, shares this advice for preventing hoof problems during muddy conditions:
• Be astute about grading/scraping corrals and maintaining cow mounds.
• Add more bedding under shade structures in corrals to provide a clean, dry resting place for cows. To be most effective, make sure there is 50 square feet of resting space per cow in covered areas.
• Evaluate drainage in low-lying areas and try to divert water, particularly from high-traffic areas. A lot that is sloped 2 to 4 percent will provide good drainage with little erosion.
• Use soil amendments to firm up high-traffic areas between concrete pads and dirt corrals.
• Consider the use of geotextile fabrics in heavy-traffic areas. These fabrics allow moisture to pass through the material while holding rock in place to ensure solid footing.
• Make sure mounds are properly designed. Mounds that are too steep, too narrow, or too small will not be used effectively and, in some cases, will do more harm than good by blocking drainage.