Hoof Health is closely related to longevity,
fertility and other health traits


A dairy cow’s health and well-being is a complex system where everything interacts. Correlation between hoof health and NTM is 35% for Holstein. That means that for Holstein when NTM is increased by one unit, hoof health is improved with 0.35 index units.

  Longevity 38% related to hoof health
Cows with good hoof health stay longer in the herd. Daughter fertility, hoof health, general health and udder health are key drivers of longevity. A long lasting cow is a healthy, trouble-free cow with higher lifetime production. That means lower costs and better profit for dairymen. 

General health 25% related to hoof health
Cows with strong hooves are less susceptible to other diseases, like reproductive and metabolic disorders.  

Daughter fertility 23% related to hoof health
Lameness has a negative effect on dairy cattle fertility. Any time a dairy cow has cycling problems, not getting pregnant or losing a pregnancy, this results in higher costs (feed and reproductive costs) and a net loss for the farm. Research shows that fertility costs are the main category in annual cost of lameness for a dairy farm – accounting for about 40%. 

Calving direct 21% related to hoof health
Hoof health is also connected with calving ease (sire effect) - bull’s offspring’s genetic potential to be born easily and alive. Difficult calving has a negative impact on cow’s health and ability to get in-calf during later lactations. 

Udder health 11% related to hoof health
Cows with strong hooves have stronger resistance to mastitis.

High correlations with longevity, fertility and health traits mean that if you breed for improved hoof health you would also achieve progress for the traits that are related to hoof health.