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J Dairy Sci. 2002 Sep;85(9):2250-6.

The impact of clinical lameness on the milk yield of dairy cows.

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University of Warwick, UK.


This paper investigates the impact of lameness on milk yield. The dataset includes approximately 8000 test-day milk yields from 900 cows on five farms in Gloucester, UK, collected over 18 mo from 1997 to 1999. The data were structured to account for repeated measures of test-day yield (1 to 10 per cow) and analyzed to account for this autocorrelation. Factors affecting milk yield included: farm of origin, stage of lactation, parity, and whether a cow ever became lame. In clinically lame cows, milk yield was reduced from up to 4 mo before a case of lameness was diagnosed and treated and for the 5 mo after treatment. The total mean estimated reduction in milk yield per 305-d lactation was approximately 360 kg. We conclude that clinical lameness has a significant impact on milk production. This is important information for assessing the economic impact of clinical lameness and its impact on cow health. It adds weight to the importance of early identification of clinical lameness and the urgency of techniques to improve the definition of this highly subjective diagnosis.

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