Researchers at the University of Tennessee examined the feet of 5,300 cows in two commercial dairy herds to find the incidence of thin soles. According to Sarel van Amstel, both herds used free-stalls, had grooved concrete walkways, fed a TMR and cooled the cows with fans and sprinklers. The incidence of thin soles in each of the herds was highest from August through December. The researchers believe the higher incidence during the summer is due in part to higher claw moisture, heat stress and decreased cow comfort.

Part way through the study, one of the dairies added rubber conveyor belting to the alleys and for the cows to stand on at the feed bunk. The chart below shows the effect of the rubber belting:




9 months

rubber belting installation

9 months

rubber belting installation

Incidence of all lameness


66.9 %


32.6 %


Incidence of thin soles


21.8 %


4 %