Unlike other items that you work to decrease the cost of, lameness doesn’t show up as one line item on your balance sheet. Lameness affects a multitude of areas, the sum of which can certainly take a chunk out of your potential income each month.
Research from Cornell University continues to shed light on the issue of lameness. It’s important to take note that this work shows that low body condition scores may be the risk factor for lameness rather than a result.
This provides the impetus for focusing on body condition scores. Evaluate body condition scores at pregnancy confirmation check, at 180 days and again in the pre-fresh pen. To keep body condition scoring simple, look for V’s, U’s and straight lines. If the cow has a valley like a V between the hooks and pins she is too thin. If there is a nice U between the hooks and pins she is just right and a flat line between the hooks and pins indicates the cow is too heavy. These are general terms that anyone walking a pen of cows can understand. Then you don’t have to worry if the cow is a 3.4 or a 3.2 – just a V, U or a line.
Body condition scores tell you what happened the past 60 to 120 days. And, although they won’t change the outcome of the current animal, it will help change the potential outcome of the next group of animals. But remember, body condition scoring is useful only if you do something with the information.
Source: HerdSmart E-Newsletter - June 2012, Land O'Lakes Purina Feed