Category Copper Sulfate

What is Dairy Cow Lameness Really Costing You?

dairy cow hoof healthBy Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

A lame cow is an economic liability on a dairy farm. On a 500-cow dairy with a lameness incidence rate of 20% and a per-cow cost of $90, lameness can cost a dairy operation $9,000 a year. A Wisconsin study estimated the total cost of a lame dairy cow to be as high as $300 per case.

Why is lameness so costly? Treatment, reduced feed intake, reduced milk yield, reduced fertility and increased labor all play a role.

Identifying lame cows can be problematic. Lameness scoring is a common tool used for managing hoof problems. Cow behavior can also be another way to sort out cows with lameness issues.

Overall, lameness can be minimized by increasing cow comfort, avoiding overcrowding, and developing and maintaining a treatment system. Most dairy producers routinely use footbaths to prevent and treat hoof problems, and minimize the incidence of lameness.

Footbath concentrates like HealMax and HoofMax can be effective tools in the fight against lameness.

HealMax is a biodegradable product which achieves results without formaldehyde or heavy metals. HoofMax optimizes copper or zinc sulfate in the footbath to remain effective even at significantly reduced metals levels.

To learn more about reducing lameness on your dairy operation, talk to your veterinarian or hoof trimmer today.

Strategies for reducing copper use in dairy footbaths

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

Strategies for reducing copper sulfate in dairy footbathsCopper sulfate is an effective treatment and preventative for digital dermatitis when used in a footbath. Unfortunately, it’s also expensive, problematic to dispose of, and potentially toxic. The Winter 2016 issue of the Country Folks Cattle Production Guide details strategies for reducing copper use in footbaths, including:

  • Good hygiene practices to keep hooves dry and reduce potential cross-contamination
  • Footbathing intervals based on current leg hygiene and production stage
  • The use of additives (such as HoofMax or DuraHoof) to increase the potency of copper sulfate and reduce the amount needed for comparable results
  • The use of biodegradable footbath solutions (such as HealMax) to achieve results without copper sulfate or formaldehyde

You can read the entire article here.

Visit us at Empire Farm Days.

If you’re at Empire Farm Days, stop by and say Hello to AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Expert Chip Hendrickson. He’s ready to answer your questions about everything from copper sulfate footbaths to hairy heel warts!

Chip Hendrickson Hoof Health Solutions

Footbath Guidelines for Dairy Farmers

By Dale Baker
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Expert 

As the summer heat wave rolls in, some producers may be thinking about installing a footbath to better manage hoof health. If you’re ready to take the plunge, here are some general guidelines for installing and maintaining a footbath on your dairy:

Footbath Placement: Many veterinarians suggest putting the footbath in a well-lit, ventilated area of the barn, somewhere near the parlor exit lanes. By placing the footbath there, you can make sure each cow makes a pass after being milked.

Footbath Size:

  • 10-12 feet long
  • 28-30 inches wide
  • 10 inches of step-in height
  • One removable side wall

Remember: The sides of your bath should create a tunnel. Check out this illustration by Dr. Nigel Cook of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Footbath Frequency of Use: Frequency of use for footbaths is based on leg hygiene. Dr. Cook suggests that cows be sorted based upon the hygiene rating of their leg area, with a score of one being clean, and a score of four being very dirty. Check out Dr. Cook’s Hoof and Leg Hygiene Chart here. Initially, your herd may need to use the bath once a day, but as you continue the program, they might only need to use it once a week.

Footbath Solutions and Additives: Solutions, like hand soap or rock salt, help clean manure off a cow’s leg. However, Cook does not recommend using only solutions. “Footbath programs should always contain one or more disinfectants,” says Cook.

The most common disinfectants used in footbaths are copper or zinc sulfate. These chemicals target the digit region of a cow’s foot.

To cut down on the amount of copper or zinc sulfate in the footbath, include an additive such as AgroChem’s  HoofMax. HoofMax can increase the longevity of copper sulfate, which can reduce both the amount of copper required, as well as the overall cost of the footbath. Or consider a footbath concentrate like HealMax to manage hoof health without heavy metals or formaldehyde.

Footbath Maintenance: In order to keep your footbath clean and efficient, monitor the following:

  • The pH level of the footbath should be between 1.5 and 4.5
  • Allow for 200 to 300 cows passes before changing the water. If using an additive like HoofMax, you may be able to increase the number of cow passes to 500 (for 50 gallons) or 1,000 (for 100 gallons).

By building a footbath, you can control an outbreak of Digital Dermatitis in your herd, maintain hoof hardness, and improve your herd’s overall health.

For more information about installing a footbath on your dairy operation, see your hoof trimmer, or veterinarian.

 

Footbath Dosing Systems Minimize Human Error, Improve Results

Copper Sulfate Footbath
By Dale Baker
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Expert

Hoof care specialists recommend footbaths because they provide consistent and thorough treatment of the entire hoof. However, accurate measuring and mixing of chemicals is critical. Even minor mistakes can result in footbaths which are ineffective or even harmful. When footbaths fail, human error is often to blame.

Footbath dosing systems minimize human error and labor associated with mixing chemicals for footbaths. Today’s advanced models not only deliver a precise, accurate quantity of pre-mixed footbath solution at the touch of a button, but can also be programmed for use with different hoof care products. These new dosing systems assure dairy producers of consistent, repeatable results for healthier hooves, and improve human and animal safety in footbath operation.

Make sure your crew is trained in the proper handling of powerful hoof care chemicals, and ask your hoof trimmer about automated footbath options for today’s progressive producers.

How To Use HoofMax For Best Hoof Care Results

A Sample Program To Get The Best Results From Your Footbath

By Dale Baker
AgroChem Hoofcare Technical Expert

Dairy producers today know the importance of using footbath additives correctly to achieve best results from their hoof health program. Here is a sample program using the HoofMax additive from AgroChem for copper and zinc sulfate footbaths for best results .

3 Easy Steps For Best Results When Using HoofMax

Measurements and simple math calculations are all that is needed. Once you know your footbath capacity, you can determine the proper amounts of copper sulfate and HoofMax needed to obtain optimum benefits.

1. Determine footbath capacity

Multiply the length, width, and height of the footbath in inches then divide by 231:

L x W x H ÷ 231 = footbath capacity in gallons

2. Determine the amount of copper sulfate (Cu) needed

The amount of copper sulfate needed depends on your current Cu usage and your footbath size. A good rule of thumb is to use from 50-60% of the current amount of copper. The chart below will help:

Current Cu usage less than 25 lbs per 50 gallon capacity:

Footbath size <50 gal, 10-12 lb Cu

Footbath size   50 gal, 10-15 lb Cu

Footbath size >50 gal, Add additional 2 – 2.5 lbs copper for every 10 gallons above 50 gal capacity

Current Cu usage greater than 25 lbs per 50 gallon capacity:

Footbath size <50 gal, 12-15 lb Cu

Footbath size   50 gal, 15-25 lb Cu

Footbath size >50 gal, Add additional 2.5 – 5 lbs copper for every 10 gallons above 50 gal capacity

3. Determine the amount of HoofMax needed

The amount of HoofMax to use for best results is determined by multiplying 12 oz HoofMax by every 100 cow passes:

12 oz HoofMax x Every 100 cow passes = Total ounces of HoofMax needed

The maximum cow passes for 50 gallons of water is 500; the maximum cow passes for 100 gallons of water is 1000.

Example: HoofMax & Copper Protocol For Best Results

To illustrate, let’s say you have 300 cows and are currently using 20 lbs of copper per bath that measures 32″ wide by 66″ long by 5″ in height.

32 x 66 x 5 ÷ 231 = 45.7 gallon footbath capacity

According to the chart above, the amount of copper sulfate needed for a 45.7 gallon capacity footbath for your farm is between 10 and 12 lbs. Next, take the number of cow passes (300) and calculate the amount of HoofMax needed by multiplying 12oz by 3 (1 for every 100 cows to pass).

12oz x 3 = 36oz of HoofMax

For maximum hoof hardness and minimum hoof rot, this protocol should be run at least 3 to 4 consecutive days per week if it is the only hoof bath product being used.

Be Confident You Are Getting The Best Results From Using HoofMax

Hoofmax, the original additive for footbaths based on copper or zinc sulfate, not only allows producers to reduce their copper sulfate usage, but it also reduces the overall cost of their footbath program. Even when the bath is heavily loaded with manure and urine, HoofMax optimizes footbath chemistry to significantly increase the potency of copper or zinc sulfate and enables the copper to continue working. This allows you to use less copper and change the bath less frequently.

Contact your dealer or an AgroChem representative for help in determining copper availability for each farm’s individual protocol.

Reducing Copper Sulfate Use On Dairy Farms

Copper in manureBy Dale Baker
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Expert

Copper sulfate is a staple on many dairy operations these days, thanks to its efficacy in treating and preventing hoof health problems. Copper sulfate is bacteriostatic, binding to and neutralizing pathogens in organic matter that can cause digital dermatitis and other problems. After 150 cow passes or so, the used solution is traditionally mixed with manure waste and disposed by land application.

Unfortunately, copper sulfate accumulates quickly in soil. Researchers from the W.H. Miner Institute have estimated that copper is applied to farm land at a rate of 4 lbs per acre approximately 18% of the time. The rate at which copper is removed from soil is much slower – only about 0.5 lbs/acre for typical grain and forage crops. Without careful management, dairy farmers may exceed their maximum soil copper loading in as few as five years, resulting in toxicity to soil microbes and crops.

Regulators in several states are now pressuring dairy producers to reduce or eliminate the use of copper sulfate in footbaths. Strategies for reducing copper loading on land include:

  • Reducing the frequency of footbaths to the bare minimum needed to control hoof problems.
  • Using a pre-wash to remove more organic matter and extending the life of the copper sulfate footbath.
  • Zinc also accumulates in soil, and does not perform as well as copper.
  • Using footbath products that don’t contain heavy metals, such as HealMax.
  • Using additives that optimize and extend the activity of copper sulfate, such as HoofMax or DuraHoof.

Once copper sulfate reaches the toxic threshold in soil, the problem cannot be reversed. Careful management at every stage, from footbath preparation to manure disposal, can go a long way in reducing copper loading on land. See your professional hoof trimmer for more information on managing copper sulfate in your dairy operation.

Source: Epperson, Bill and Midla, Lowell. Copper Sulfate for Footbaths – Issues and Alternatives. Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference, April 24-25, 2007.