Welsh dairy farmers will get more access to lameness advice and support thanks to an increase in the number of trained experts.
Vets from 31 practices have recently qualified as ‘mobility mentors’ to deliver the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board's (AHDB’s) Healthy Feet Programme, taking the total to 42 across Wales.
The initiative is part of a package of support under the Dairy Improvement Programme, funded by Welsh government and the European Union, and delivered by AHDB.
Delyth Lewis-Jones, AHDB head of dairy development in Wales said:
Delivering wide-scale training for vets across Wales is a major step forward in tackling dairy herd lameness, without trained deliverers the ability to address such a large industry issue is very limited."
Lameness is a significant industry issue with the average cost of treatment at around £180/cow, or £15,000 a year for the average herd.
Proactive management of the condition is the best way to reduce instances and subsequent costs.
AHDB’s Healthy Feet Programme offers farmers a structured way to diagnose and develop plans to control lameness by working with trained ‘mobility mentors’ who act as one-to-one advisors.
Vet Sara Pederson who delivered the training alongside Nic Bell and Owen Atkinson, said:
“The training programme has been fantastic to be involved with. Despite holding the workshops virtually, there was plenty of opportunity for interaction, discussion and sharing of ideas within each group.
There has been a real sense of this being a ‘team effort’ in tackling lameness in the Welsh dairy herd.
"The training has also given us the opportunity to engage and enthuse vets who may not previously have sought to become a Mobility Mentor.
"We look forward to seeing the results of the Healthy Feet Programme being rolled out on-farm."