Development of an Austria-wide infrastructure on the centralised standardised collection and evaluation of data on hoof health, lameness, and animal welfare

Topic area
Innovation
Agriculture and forestry, incl. value chain

Disaggregation level
Agriculture
Animal welfare
Knowledge transfer
Innovation
EIP European Innovation Partnership

Project region
Burgenland
Carinthia
Lower Austria
Upper Austria
Salzburg
Styria
Tyrol
Vorarlberg
Vienna

LE– Programming Period
LE 14–20

Project period
2017-2021

Project costs overall
460.660,00€

Subsidy from LE 14-20
460.660,00€

Priority
EN - 16.02.1. Unterstützung bei der Entwicklung neuer Erzeugnisse, Verfahren & Technologien der Land-, Ernährungs- & Forstwirtschaft

Project initiator
ARGE Klauen-Q-Wohl

Short description

Problems with hooves and limbs of dairy cows result from deficiencies in the environment in which they are kept, they impair animal welfare and entail economic disadvantages for the farmers. The project “ARGE Klauen-Q-Wohl“ aims at sensitising and motivating farmers and hoof trimmers for improvement measures in this field. An infrastructure for the standardised documentation and centralised electronic collection of hoof trimming and lameness data and other animal welfare parameters in Austria is being developed. On the basis of these data conclusions concerning risk factors for the development of health problems are drawn.

Point of departure

Hoof and limb diseases rank among the most frequent causes of losses of dairy cows. In the year 2016 they made up 8% of the cows in Austria. Moreover, it has been calculated that a lame cow costs up to 450 Euros per year and entails considerable financial losses for the farmer. Healthy hooves are thus not only important for animal welfare, but they are also of economic significance. However, presently there exists in Austria no systematic central recording and evaluation of lameness and hoof diseases, which includes also animal welfare parameters and takes thus account of the multifunctional causes of these diseases.

Targets and target groups

The project aims at developing an Austria-wide infrastructure on the centralised standardised collection and evaluation of data on hoof health, lameness, and animal welfare. The data will be available for the farmers and will support them in taking improvement measures adapted to the individual farm. Main target group are dairy farmers.

Project implementation and measures

"Important project steps are (1) Drafting a rough concept for measures to improve hoof health of dairy cows with representatives of science, performance control, consulting and animal health, (2) creating a system of incentives for hoof trimmers to collect data standardised electronically and to transfer them to the Central Cattle Database (Rinderdatenbank RDB), (3) testing data collection on five farms, (4) working out requirements for the EDP implementation in the cattle data network, and (5) making a test for suitability in practice on about 20 farms in Austria."

Results and effects

The most important result of this project is the improvement and/or the safeguarding of hoof health with dairy cows as an important contribution to the sustainable improvement of animal welfare in dairy farming. This is what sensitised consumers are increasingly demanding. For the farmers an increased level of welfare of dairy cows means less loss of performance, less use of medicinal products and fewer failures and thus a higher productivity at herd level.