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Hoof health workshops offered in Maryland

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland dairy producers have two more opportunities remaining this winter to learn about reducing lameness through a program called Cow-side Forums for Improved Hoof Health. The workshops 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 forums will feature two components: a classroom session in the morning and hands-on instruction in the afternoon.

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.

Forum locations, dates and times are:

Havre DeGrace area, March 6, 10 a.m. Classroom session at Level Fire Hall, 3633 Level Village Road in Havre de Grace; hands-on instruction at Keyes family, Mount Felix Farm, 2000 Level Road, Havre de Grace. To register, please call 410-638-3255 on or before February 25.

Garrett County area, March 18, 9:30 a.m. Classroom session at Garrett College, Career Technology Center at 116 Industrial Park Drive, Accident, Md.; hands-on instruction at Oak View Farm, Kenton Bender: 1643 Accident Friendsville Rd, Accident. To register for this session contact the Garrett County Extension office at 301-334-6960 by March 12th.