Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Dairy Science

First Advisor

David J. Schingoethe


Environmental, nutritional, and physiological parameters associated with hoof growth and wear were evaluated using data from 140 Holstein cows in five herds. Growth and wear of the dorsal and lateral regions of the front and rear outside claws were measured at approximately 2 mo intervals over a 14 mo period. Housing facilities varied from continuous confinement on concrete to confinement in dirt lots and included loafing sheds, free stall barns, and one comfort stall facility with rubber mats. Lateral hoof regions grew 24% faster than dorsal regions in the front and 20% faster in the rear hooves. Rear hooves grew 10% faster in the dorsal and about 6% faster in the lateral areas than the front hooves. Dorsal regions consistently wore at a lower rate than lateral regions. Hoof wear of the lateral area was less in front hooves than in the rear, but dorsal region wear was similar for front and rear hooves. Cows housed in free stall systems exhibited slower rates of hoof wear than animals housed in dirt pack loafing sheds and comfort stalls. Hoof growth was not as greatly influenced by housing type. Rates on hoof growth and wear increased with increasing photoperiod and ambient temperature. Reproductive efficiency, sire line, arid type evaluations did not influence hoof growth or wear. Older animals exhibited slower rates of growth and wear in the lateral region of rear hooves. Hooves grew more slowly in early lactation than in late lactation. Increased dietary sulfur intake was related to increased hoof growth and decreased hoof wear. Increased fiber intake was also related to increased hoof growth and tended to be related to decreased hoof wear.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Holstein-Friesian cattle
Dairy cattle


Includes bibliographical references (pages 93-100)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted

Included in

Dairy Science Commons