Cleanliness Scoring

Cleanliness scoring systems for dairy cows - where the herd or a representative proportion of the herd is scored on the basis of how much muck and dirt adhere different body parts- can be used to broadly measure the standard of various aspects in the management of dairy cows, particularly with regard to controlling the incidence of infectious diseases or monitoring cow comfort levels.

Over the years several different systems have been used but they share common similarities.  Under the 2013 Red Tractor Assurance scheme a standardised system using a 0-2 score has been adopted. The scoring process can take place at any time of the year, but may be particularly useful during housing or when grazing during particularly wet conditions.

Most obviously, cleanliness scoring is used to monitor how clean cows are being kept by the system in which they are housed in terms of environmental mastitis prevention, but it can also indicate nutritional and general health issues.

In particular, cleanliness scoring can help to indicate how the incidence of lameness in the herd affects levels of cow cleanliness, and, perhaps more importantly, how the levels of cleanliness themselves, such as poor bedding management or insufficient passageway scraping, may be factorial in causing hoof conditions which can lead to mobility problems, such as digital dermatitis and heel horn erosion.

On an individual cow basis, where cows score 1 or 2, further investigation may help to indicate the reasons why these particular cows are so dirty. Dirtiness may be related to the health of the cow and her nutrition, but can also be due to the particular habits of the cow when walking, lying down or feeding, or housing management issues. Linking the results from mobility scoring and cleanliness scoring may indicate important correlations between dirty and lame cows.


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