Why is it measured?

In general cattle, given the choice, will choose to lie in clean, dry areas. Dirtiness on the coat can irritate the skin, provide optimal conditions for ectoparasites, increase cold stress,  indicate dirty lying areas, increase the risk of disease and cause issues at, or prior to, slaughter.

How to assess and score using the AssureWel measure

 2. Cleanliness                                                                                                                                                       Individual measure
 Sample: 20 animals selected at random (3 or more assessed jointly with stockperson) plus all breeding bulls

Visually assess one randomly selected side of the animal and behind, only including the hind

quarters to coronary band and udder (or equivalent area on male animals:)


0 = Clean
No dirt or only minor splashing present

2 = Very dirty
An area of dirtiness (i.e. layer or plaques of fresh or dried/old dirt) amounting to at least a forearm length (40 cm) in any dimension. Do not include staining to the coat.


  1. Lameness
  2. Cleanliness
  3. Body Condition Score (adult cattle only)
  4. Hairloss, lesions and swellings
  5. Animals with respiratory signs
  6. Cattle needing further care
  7. Disbudding, dehorning and castration
  8. Mortality



Making improvements

  • Links to resources all aimed at improving the welfare of beef cattle
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