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Hoof health workshop slated

HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- The first of four Cow-side Forums for Improved Hoof Health will be held in the Hagerstown area on January 10, beginning at 10 a.m. The classroom session will be at Chewsville Community Center, 11735 White Hall Road, Hagerstown; hands-on instruction at Jared Martin, Hillsurround Holsteins & Triple-Hil Sires, 22046 Old Forage Road, Smithsburg. Call 301-791-1304 on or before January 3 to register.

The workshops (three others are schedule later around the state) are sponsored by the University of Maryland’s Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, University of Maryland Extension, and other partners, including Dr. Ernest Hovingh, Extension veterinarian, with the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, local hoof trimmers and veterinarians, and Novus International.

“Lameness has been identified as one of the most crucial problems associated with animal care and management and is incredibly important in today's dairy herd comments Dr. Bob Peters, Extension dairy specialist at the University of Maryland. “Dr. Hovingh with Penn State Extension has further noted that ‘clinical lameness can cost the producer in terms of treatment for the problem, but lameness can also lead to decreased milk production, impaired reproductive performance, and costs related to culling an animal.’ These forums train producers and employees on proper hoof care, proper hoof trimming, monitoring practices, and management techniques.”

The classroom discussion will focus on the fundamentals of hoof care and tools needed to improve hoof health on the farm, as well as how to prevent lameness in dairy herds. Following lunch, forum participants will participate in breakout sessions including (1) barn tour to evaluate housing, environment and facilities’ impacts on hoof health (2) live hoof-trimming observation with hoof trimmer, and (3) hands-on trimming of cadaver hooves.