Body condition scores have become an integral part of herd management, especially during the transition phase. Every effort is taken to make sure cows don’t gain too much condition before, or lose too much condition after, calving. And while visual and tactile methods have been developed to evaluate BCS, they are largely subjective.

However, researchers in Germany have employed ultrasound as a way to make this evaluation more objective. Their technique is similar to what is done with beef cattle to predict carcass quality. In this instance, they measure backfat and equate it to total body fat. Then, they use a reference curve for the development of body condition throughout lactation to determine whether cows conform to desired standards.

For more information, go to:

http://jds.fass.org/content/vol89/issue1/ and click on “invited reviews.”