Category Dairy

Going to World Ag Expo? So are we!

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

World Ag Expo, dairy cow hoof healthIf you’re going to World Ag Expo next week in Tulare, California, please stop by the AgroChem Booth #6900 in the Farm Credit Dairy Center. Check out all that’s new in hoof health, dairy hygiene, equipment sanitation and all the advanced chemical solutions from AgroChem!

The Battle with Digital Dermatitis

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

Digital dermatitis (hairy heel wart) is an ongoing battle for many dairy producers. In this recent article in Dairy Herd Management, Dr. Gabe Middleton outlines how producers can identify the stages of digital dermatitis, and different ways of treating an outbreak.

Common treatments for digital dermatitis are topical salves and footbaths. HealMax Spray from AgroChem is a spot-on application that can be placed directly on digital dermatitis warts. As Dr. Middleton points out, footbaths are important for the prevention of a digital dermatitis outbreak. To reduce the cost of a footbath, consider HoofMax Footbath Concentrate, which can reduce copper sulfate usage by up to 80%. Or to eliminate the use of heavy metals and formaldehyde in your footbath, there is HealMax Footbath Concentrate.

For more information about digital dermatitis and how to treat it, talk to your hoof trimmer or veterinarian.

Attention Hoof Trimmers! The Hoof Health Conference is Coming Soon!

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

Hoof Trimmer's Association logoAre you attending this year’s Hoof Health Conference? We are!

The conference will be held in Atlanta, GA, from February 18-20. Registration is still open on the Hoof Health Conference website.

The featured speaker this year will be Dr. Jan Shearer, who recently finished a survey on lameness disorders and how they are treated across North America. Dr. Shearer was also the subject of our blog on digital dermatitis in feedlots.

Other Conference topics include non-healing lesions, heat stress and hoof health, and a look at hoof problems in Great Britain. Some of the speakers include Dr. Jennifer Walker, a specialist on dairy cow welfare, Dr. Sara Pedersen, a hoof health consultant from Great Britain, and Dr. Chuck Guard, a Cornell University large animal veterinarian. Click here for the full schedule and other important information.

Hope to see you there!

Treating Hairy Heel Wart in Heifers

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

heifer hairy heel wartHeifers shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to hoof care treatment. A recent article helps drive home the message that heifers are at as much risk as milking cows for digital dermatitis (hairy heel wart).

In a May interview, hoof health consultant Karl Burgi said that timed trimming in heifers, prior to calving, can go a long way in preventing future hoof problems. Timed trimming is functional trimming at the most advantageous times in order to optimize claw health and prevent lameness. “Springing heifers who have had timed trimming will have 2 to 4 point higher feet and leg scores throughout their productive lives, more milk in their first lactations, and less digital dermatitis,” he notes. “If a heifer’s feet are in good shape ahead of delivering that first calf, she won’t break down in the pasterns as quickly.”

Burgi recommends heifers should be trimmed between 10 and three weeks prior to calving.

On the subject of footbaths for heifers, Burgi believes they do help prevent infectious diseases like hairy heel wart, which may grab hold when dry-cow areas are neglected, or when transition-cow immunity is naturally compromised.

There are many different products are available for managing hairy heel wart and other hoof problems. HealMax by AgroChem is available in a foam, spray and footbath concentrate formulation. The spray can be directly applied to the infected area; the foam can be applied to the whole herd. When used as a footbath concentrate, it can be rotated with DuraHoof, which cuts down on copper sulfate usage. And unlike formaldehyde, HealMax remains effective in both hot and cold weather.

For more information about hairy heel warts and treatment, contact your veterinarian or hoof trimmer today.

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.


What dairy farmers should know about NPEs

By Dale Baker
AgroChem Inc. Hoof Care Technical Expert

environmental shot

As you may know, NPEs (Nonylphenol Exthoxylates) are widely used to manufacture teat dips and dairy cleaning agents. They are endocrine disrupters that are produced in large volumes and are highly toxic to aquatic life. They also can have negative effects on both animals and humans. At one time, NPEs were commonly used in household laundry detergents but in 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and detergent manufacturers decided to eliminate them.

NPEs are now banned by the European Union. Some milk buyers in Europe, China and other countries are no longer purchasing milk from farms that use NPEs.

If you are using NPEs in any of your dairy products you may want to consider switching to 100% NPE-free solutions. The vast majority of AgroChem teat dips, detergents, sanitizers — and, yes, hoof care products — are made using safer alternatives that have not been shown to be toxic to aquatic life, nor genotoxic mutagenic, or carcinogenic.

For more information on the safer, NPE-free solutions for your dairy operation, consult your hoof trimmer or veterinarian.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Nonylphenol (NP) and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) Action Plan. August 18, 2010.