Relation between observed locomotion traits and locomotion score in dairy cows

A.A. Schlageter Tello, E.A.M. Bokkers, P.W.G. Groot Koerkamp, T. van Hertem, S. Viazzi, Kees Lokhorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Lameness is still an important problem in modern dairy farming. Human observation of locomotion, by looking at different traits in one go, is used in practice to assess locomotion. The objectives of this article were to determine which individual locomotion traits are most related to locomotion scores in dairy cows, and whether experienced raters are capable of scoring these individual traits consistently. Locomotion and 5 individual locomotion traits (arched back, asymmetric gait, head bobbing, reluctance to bear weight, and tracking up) were scored independently on a 5-level scale for 58 videos of different cows. Videos were shown to 10 experienced raters in 2 different scoring sessions. Relations between locomotion score and traits were estimated by 3 logistic regression models aiming to calculate the size of the fixed effects on the probability of scoring a cow in 1 of the 5 levels of the scale (model 1) and the probability of classifying a cow as lame (locomotion score =3; model 2) or as severely lame (locomotion score =4; model 3). Fixed effects were rater, session, traits, and interactions among fixed effects. Odds ratios were calculated to estimate the relative probability to classify a cow as lame when an altered (trait score =3) or severely altered trait (trait score =4) was present. Overall intrarater and interrater reliability and agreement were calculated as weighted kappa coefficient (¿w) and percentage of agreement, respectively. Specific intrarater and interrater agreement for individual levels within a 5-level scale were calculated. All traits were significantly related to the locomotion score when scored with a 5-level scale and when classified as (severely) lame or nonlame. Odds ratios for altered and severely altered traits were 10.8 and 14.5 for reluctance to bear weight, 6.5 and 7.2 for asymmetric gait, and 4.8 and 3.2 for arched back, respectively. Raters showed substantial variation in reliability and agreement values when scoring traits. The acceptance threshold for overall intrarater reliability (¿w =0.60) was exceeded by locomotion scoring and all traits. Overall interrater reliability values ranged from ¿w = 0.53 for tracking up to ¿w = 0.61 for reluctance to bear weight. Intrarater and interrater agreement were below the acceptance threshold (percentage of agreement
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8623-8633
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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