Taking care of your herd's hoof health is crucial for a successful dairy farm and good record keeping is a vital step for good hoof health.
Good quality records accomplish 3 things:
1) A benchmark of the dairy herd's foot health at a specific time.
2) Allow analysis of the type and severity of lesions that cause lameness in the herd.
3) Allows the farm management to compare current and past reports in order to see if the farm is progressing or going backwards.
The simplest form of basic record is the hoof trimmer's bill. This documents how many cows were trimmed and how many blocks and wraps were applied.
Next is the paper record noting individual cows and their hoof health profiles with date and time of the trim.
The step above allows farmers to recall an individual animal's history and run an easy to read report sheet for the farm management.
If keeping records is so simple, why don't more farms do it? The answer is because it takes time. How much time does record keeping really takes and is it worth it?
Generally, electronic recording costs the trimmer around 15 minutes of productivity per day, which is around the time it takes to trim 2 - 3 cows. Multiply that by 20 working days a month, that is probably why many trimmers do not record.
However, recording and investing in training and a computer program allows the farm team to develop a strategy with their hoof trimmers to reduce lameness.
By improving hoof health, it will reduce treatment time in the trimmer's chute, allowing more cows per day to be trimmed.
Overtime, recording will improve the hoof health, which reduces treatment time in the trimmer's chute, allowing more cows to be trimmed.
More cows per day trimmed increases the chance of finding more subclinical lameness lesions that can be corrected by the trimmer.
Ultimately, the farm will make more money as the trimmer will be spending more time trimming instead of treating.
This means increase milk production with healthier and happier cows.