Hoofsmart logo - blue background - hoofsmart work in white font

Image of a brown cow looking at you - the challenge - Lameness is a significant challenge to farmers worldwide, impacting both animal welfare and farm productivity. Traditional methods of lameness detection often fall short, relying on subjective visual assessments, which can be time-consuming and prone to error.

picture of an electrocardiogram trace - our solution - We propose a state-of-the-art micro-Doppler radar system designed for automating lameness detection and mobility characterisation in cattle. The technology uses advanced radar algorithms to monitor the movement patterns and gait of cattle, allowing early and accurate detection of lameness.

What we do - Our radar system is engineered to integrate into existing cattle management infrastructure, providing farmers with a reliable and efficient solution for monitoring the health and welfare of their herds. Easy to install and user-friendly, offers real-time monitoring and data analytics, enabling farmers to make informed decisions about their livestock. - picture of 3 cows looking at you

4 icons - 1 a person with a stetoscope - 2 a cow - 3 a plant - 4 a person with a dog and a stetoscope

a brown and white cow looking at you - contact us - experience the future of cattle management with our radar system - hoofsmart@glasgow.ac.uk

Hoofsmart concept

Dairy Cattle Lameness and Hidden Costs

Lameness in dairy cattle directly affects two aspects: Animal welfare and farmer financial stability; and these implications apply on a worldwide scale.  Affected cows experience pain and discomfort, reducing their ability to express their natural behaviours, causing stress, and changes in behaviour and productivity.


A recent study showed an average prevalence of 22.8% of lameness (Thomsen et al., 2023), highlighting the economic losses at multiple levels. Some indicative direct and indirect (commonly also called "hidden") costs are

  • Decreased milk production: Cows with lameness experience reduced milk yield and the milk fat and protein profiles are lowered, leading to losses in revenue. Studies estimate that lameness can reduce between 163 to 570 litres of milk per 305-day lactation per affected cow (Penev & Stankov 2015, Amory et al., 2008, Green et al., 2002).
  • Reduced fertility and reproductive performance: Lameness can impair fertility and reproductive success in dairy cows with reduced odds of pregnancy to first service by 21% and are more likely to lose pregnancies by 5.3%, leading to overall longer calving intervals and decreased efficiency in breeding programs (Omontese et al., 2020).
  • Increased culling rates: Lameness often leads to premature culling of affected cows due to decreased productivity or chronic pain. The culling costs in a typical UK herd have been estimated at 24% of the annual lameness-associated costs (Willshire and Bell, 2009).
  • Veterinary and treatment expenses: Treating lameness requires labour costs associated with additional hoof trimmings and other management practices as well as veterinary care and medication in infectious or more severe cases. These expenses can add up, impacting further the farm's profitability.

While the economic impact of lameness is clearly depicted by the numbers, there are ways to deal with this problem and improve animal welfare and farm profitability. Implementing proactive management strategies such as continuous monitoring, regular foot trimmings and maintenance, improving flooring and housing conditions, and providing a proper and balanced diet can go a long way.

If you want to optimise dairy farm profitability and animal welfare by managing lameness, please share your insights and experiences with us and stay connected with Hoofsmart

Do you want to know how much lameness is potentially costing you - try the AHDB lameness cost calculator


Fioranelli, F. , Li, H., Le Kernec, J. , Busin, V. , Jonsson, N. , King, G. , Tomlinson, M. and Viora, L. (2019) Radar-based Evaluation of Lameness Detection in Ruminants: Preliminary Results. In: IEEE MTT-S 2019 International Microwave Biomedical Conference (IMBioC2019), Nanjing, China, 6-8 May 2019, ISBN 9781538673959 (doi: 10.1109/IMBIOC.2019.8777830)

Busin, V. , Viora, L. , King, G. , Tomlinson, M., Le Kernec, J. , Jonsson, N. N. and Fioranelli, F. (2019) Radar Sensing as a Novel Tool to Detect Lameness in Sheep. Ontario Small Ruminant Veterinary Conference, Ontario, Canada, 17-19 June 2019.

Linardopoulou, K. , Viora, L. , Fioranelli, F. , Le Kernec, J. , Abbasi, Q. , King, G. and Jonsson, N. (2023) Time-series Observations of Cattle Mobility: Accurate Label Assignment from Multiple Assessors, and Association with Lesions Detected in the Feet. 31st World Buiatrics Congress, Madrid, Spain, 04-08 Sep 2022.

Shrestha, A., Loukas, C., Le Kernec, J. , Fioranelli, F. , Busin, V. , Jonsson, N. , King, G. , Tomlinson, M., Viora, L. and Voute, L. (2018) Animal lameness detection with radar sensing. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, 15(8), pp. 1189-1193. (doi: 10.1109/LGRS.2018.2832650)

Linardopoulou, K. , Viora, L. , Abbasi, Q. H. , Fioranelli, F. , Le Kernec, J. and Jonsson, N. (2020) Lameness Detection in Dairy Cows: Evaluation of the Agreement and Repeatability of Mobility Scoring. 74th Annual AVTRW Conference, 14-15 Sept 2020.

Busin, V. , Viora, L. , King, G. , Tomlinson, M., Le Kernec, J. , Jonsson, N. and Fioranelli, F. (2019) Evaluation of lameness detection using radar sensing in ruminants. Veterinary Record, 185(18), 572. (doi: 10.1136/vr.105407) (PMID:31554712)

Linardopoulou, K. , Viora, L. , Le Kernec, J. and Jonsson, N. (2023) Addressing Purpose and Subjective Data Labelling Challenges in Automated Lameness Detection for Cattle with Machine Learning and Micro-Doppler Radar. Hannah Dairy Research Foundation (HDRF) Conference 2023: Next Generation Quality Dairying, Edinburgh, UK, 20-21 Nov 2023.

Shrestha, A., Le Kernec, J. , Fioranelli, F. , Marshall, J.F. and Voute, L. (2018) Gait Analysis of Horses for Lameness Detection with Radar Sensors. In: RADAR 2017: International Conference on Radar Systems, Belfast, UK, 23-26 Oct 2017, ISBN 9781785616730 (doi: 10.1049/cp.2017.0427)