Good cow flow key to reducing lameness

Published 28 July 17

Good cow flow improves efficiency of operations around the dairy farm, but it also cuts stress in cows and reduces lameness by lowering wear and damage to feet.

This is the message from renowned New Zealand vet Neil Chesterton, who is speaking at a series of 10 AHDB Dairy open meetings across the UK this August and September, followed by a Webinar focusing on reducing pressures on the foot, a key to reducing lameness.

The tour begins in Scotland on Monday 21 August at Hillhead Farm near Lockerbie, before Neil winds his way south through England and Wales. For those unable to make the meetings there will also be a webinar on the evening of Tuesday 29 August.

Lameness costs the average dairy herd 1+ppl in lost milk yield, treatment, higher culling rates, as well as affecting cow welfare and staff morale. The meetings will help farmers understand the causes through working with a cow’s natural instinct and how it is possible to help reduce incidence and improve mobility.

AHDB’s Knowledge Exchange Senior Manager Richard Davies said, “Neil believes that one of the key factors in the fight against lameness is reducing forces on the feet, and this includes aspects such as cow comfort and cow flow. “The way we move and handle cows and the surfaces they walk on affects their feet and therefore impacts lameness levels. 

“So we need to consider how walking on cow tracks, and handling in and around the milking parlour and around buildings in general all contribute. The good news is there are practical ways to minimise foot damage in existing systems, and also when carrying out alterations or building new facilities.”

As part of AHDB Dairy’s Healthy Feet programme, Neil will guide farmers around the facilities on GB dairy units in a series of open meetings. He will show visitors where the main risks to cows’ feet are and offer practical ways and innovative suggestions to minimise damage, including thinking about the way we handle cows when moving them.

Details of the meetings and webinar can be found below and on our events page All meetings run from 10:30am to 2:30pm and include lunch and coffee from 10:00am. To book a place, farmers should contact the AHDB Dairy KE Events hub on 01904 771216 or email


Join Neil Chesterton, Tuesday 29th August 2017 at 19:00 – 20:00 UK time (20:00 – 21:00 CET). New Zealand’s leading lameness expert will focus on reducing pressures on the foot, a key to reducing lameness. To register for this webinar visit our events page




Third Party


Hillhead, Kirkpatrick Fleming, Lockerbie DG11 3NQ
By kind permission of Willie Fleming

Firth Vet Centre


Gelt Side Farm, Brampton, Cumbria CA8 1TA
 By kind permission of Thomas Fisher

Capontree Vets


Washfold Farm, Leyburn, North Yorkshire DL8 5JZ
By kind permission of Metcalfe Farms

Bishopton Vets


Fields Farm, Occlestone, Cheshire CW10 0LZ
By kind permission of Jeremy Platt

Willows Vets


Nant y Bach, Llangrannog, Ceredigion, SA44 6RN

By kind permission of Chris Mossman

Andrew Tyler


Saltby Dairy Unit, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, LE14 4RF

By kind permission of K & R Wellwood

Vale Vets



Oakshill Farm, pontesbury, Shropshire, SY5 0XQ
By kind permission of Longden Manor

Shropshire farm vets



Gourds Farm, Compton Abbas, Dorset, SP7 0ND

By kind permission of Steve Parsons

Friars Moor vets


Gateshayes farm, Whimple, Exeter, EX5 2PA
By kind permission ofL & H Bowker

Vale Vets



Trevissick farm, Trearren, St Austell, PL26 6BQ
By kind permission ofDavid Treleaven

Kernow farm & equine