On Thursday 30th September, we got back out on farm for a farm walk at Upper Farm, Staffordshire. Thank you to everyone who came along, we hope you had a great day – plus we managed to dodge the rain despite the dismal forecast!

It was great to see how much Joel and Emma Redfern have achieved at Upper Farm and what their aims are now. A huge thanks to them both for hosting.
On the day we covered three key production areas utilising data from the Redfern’s herd to help demonstrate the theory in practice. These are the key takeaway points from each session:


Monitoring fertility performance regularly helps us to keep track of what is going on, on your farm and make changes if something looks out of place

This may be that we need more training, it may be that we need to investigate disease, it may be that we need to review nutrition

Pregnancy rate = Submission rate x Conception rate

Submission rate = number of cows eligible for service

  • To increase submission rate, we either need to improve heat detection or increase the use of synchronisation programmes
  • We can look at a first service submission rate and return service submission rate

Conception rate = number of cows served that conceive. This is more difficult to alter

Farm Walk at Redferns


Mobility scoring, including the dry cows and heifers, on a regular basis allows you to identify score 2 and 3 cows quicker and allows for prompt treatment of those cows. Ideally the same, trained, stockperson should mobility score fortnightly, with a RoMS assessor scoring quarterly.
Assessing how cows move around your farm and interact with their environment can highlight areas that may be predisposing to lameness, e.g., Sharp turns or slippery concrete increases risk of white line disease.

Transition Nutrition – Emma Redfern

  • Intakes are the most important thing, and by not feeding close-ats daily, you are setting them up to fail.
  • The importance of starch in the dry cow diet – especially if you are feeding a starchy milker’s diet. The rumen takes four weeks longer to reach its max size post calving if they are having a starch deficient pre-calving diet. Dry cow nuts don’t contain much starch, they are all protein and minerals.
  • Too much straw costs the cow energy to digest it. We don’t want to over-do energy, but we also don’t want to fill them so much with straw that it reduces intakes.
  • Avoid feeding barley straw to dry cows, it is typically higher in potassium than wheat straw so can create milk fever problems.
  • You can run a partial DCAB pre-calver diet on any system now – whether that be TMR or ring feeder. Dry cow nuts are available with anionic DCAB salts in them.
  • Putting mag chloride in water troughs only suppresses water intake and DMI, it doesn’t supply much mag. Mag chloride is only 11% magnesium.
  • Get a forage mineral analysis done by your nutritionist on every forage fed to dry cows. Nutritionists can be reluctant to do these because they cost £35 each.
  • Monitor rumen fill in dry and fresh cows
  • CowSignals: reduce any unnecessary stress and movements in transition sheds.
  • Try to move cows in pairs or small groups. Don’t overstock or compromise feed & water space.


  • Foot trimming is one half of the Early Detection (mobility scoring) and Prompt Effective Treatment (trimming) “EDPET” programme which if followed will lead to a quicker recovery of lame cows and less chance of recurrence
  • It’s also a crucial aspect of lameness prevention through the routine inspection and, where necessary, trimming of all cows in the herd; typically at dry off and 80-100 days in milk.

An investment in foot trimming, be it the training of staff in correct techniques, quality trimming equipment such as a crush and /or engaging the services of a reputable professional foot trimmer will be one that inevitably delivers significant benefit over cost to your herd.

Farm walk at redfern's - Lameness

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