Category HoofMax

How Dairy Barn Design Affects Hoof Health

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

dairy cow hoof health barn designBuilding a new barn can be an exciting experience. However, don’t overlook the importance of hoof health in design and materials.

Poor stall design can increase the amount of standing time for the cow, leading to an increase in the risk of lameness or hoof problems. Stall surface options, such as sand or mattress beds, are another design choice that impact hoof health. Studies have found a lower incidence of lameness in barns that use deep sand bedding. For barns using mattress beds, lameness can be reduced when following the following practices: observing cows to measure locomotion, moving lame cows to a dedicated area near the milking parlor, timely hoof trimming, avoiding overstocking, reducing lock-up time and allowing lame cows to spend less time on their feet.

Footbath placement is an additional consideration when designing a barn. One way to ensure that all cows visit a footbath once a day is by placing it in the milking parlor exit lanes. Footbath frequency and size vary for each farm, but the recommended size for a footbath is at least 10 feet long, and usually cows go through it at least once a week.

Daily barn maintenance is a practice that continues long after a new barn is completed, but if it falls to the wayside, hooves can be affected. Wet, slippery, over-crowded alleys and pens increase the potential for physical injury, and expose hooves to bacteria-laden waste and water. Ensure that alley scrapers are running on a normal schedule and that cows have a chance to spread out in the barn to reduce over-crowding.

Regardless of barn design, quality hoof care products are essential for keeping cows healthy and mobile. Additives such as HealMax and HoofMax by AgroChem can reduce footbath costs and help manage hoof diseases such as hairy heel warts. HealMax is available in a foam, spray and footbath concentrate formulation; a new formulation is now available with a small, effective amount of copper. HoofMax is a footbath additive that can increase the potency of copper or zinc sulfate for healthier hooves with more cow passes per footbath, less labor and waste, and reduced copper loading on land. DuraHoof is an all-in-one pre-mixed additive that contains just the right amount of HoofMax, and copper and cleaning agents for economical hoof care.

For more information about barn design and its effect on hoof health, talk to your veterinarian or hoof trimmer.

Much of this information was sourced from Greg Blonde, University of Wisconsin-Extension http://fyi.uwex.edu/dairy/files/2016/11/Hoof-Health-Housing-Factsheet-Blonde-2.pdf

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.

Study Shows HoofMax Effectively Controls Digital Dermatitis Bacteria at Lower Copper Sulfate Levels

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

HoofMax Footbath Concentrate is widely used to improve dairy hoof health while reducing copper use and expense. A study of HoofMax Footbath Concentrate in an in-vitro system designed to simulate on-farm conditions found it to be a safe and effective means of controlling the bacteria that cause foot rot and digital dermatitis (hairy heel warts), using low levels (5 to 10 lbs) of copper sulfate. View the complete study here.

Classification and Treatment of Digital Dermatitis

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

Hary Heel Wart - Digital DermatitisDigital dermatitis, or hairy heel wart, is a widespread and prevalent disease among beef and dairy cattle which can have long term and severe impacts on herd health and productivity. This is a condition that dairy farmers cannot ignore and hope that it goes away. In an October 2015 article by Maggie Seiler, Special Publications Editor for Hoard’s Dairyman, she states:

Management commitments to hoof health are necessary to reduce the prevalence of the disease in the herd.

To care for your cows, you need a long-term strategy that begins with classification of the disease, and a commitment to treatment and management. 

Classification
An excellent method of digital dermatitis classification was introduced by Dörte Döpfer and associates in the 1990s which classifies warts into five different categories:

  • None: No lesions present.
  • Small: Affected area less than 3/4”, red to gray in color, and normal walking.
  • Large: Affected area larger that 3/4”, bright red or red-gray, walking is painful.
  • Healing: Scab covering affected area and becoming smaller.
  • Chronic: characterized by hard and thickened skin and/or continuous warts. Cows with warts in this category can suffer from chronic lameness.

Treatment and Management
Experience teaches that better outcomes prevail when treatment occurs before a large growth appears. Fortunately, there are many treatment options for managing hairy heel wart:

  • Topical salves
  • Antibiotics
  • Footbaths

AgroChem offers excellent options for dairy hoof problems. HealMax® is a biodegradable formula which achieves results without formaldehyde, heavy metals or harsh acids. It is available in a spray, foam, and footbath concentrate formulation, and remains effective in both hot and cold weather. HoofMax® is a footbath additive that can increase the potency copper or zinc sulfate for healthier hooves with more cow passes, less labor and waste, and reduced copper loading on land.

What about prevention?
The bad news is that hairy heel wart is widespread and extremely difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate. However, despite its prevalence, the good news is that this debilitating disease can be managed effectively. Producers who aren’t sure where to start might consider beginning their management program with fresh cow groups which are vulnerable to infection. With proper management, dairy farmers and ranch operations can reap the benefits of long term herd health and productivity.

For more information about digital dermatitis, talk to your veterinarian or hoof trimmer today.

Summer Hoof Care for Cows

By Dale Baker & Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

Cows in Summer (Hoof Care)As the business of summer takes over your schedule, your herd’s hoof care may take a backseat to everything else going on. Although it can be easy to let your footbath program slide off schedule, don’t forget it.

Some common mistakes dairy farmers may make when it comes to summer hoof care include:

1. Continuing to use formaldehyde. In hot temperatures, formaldehyde can flash off, making your footbath far less effective. However, products like HealMax are designed to remain effective, even in hot temperature, and are less likely to cause health problems in humans and animals. Here are some more reasons to avoid formaldehyde in your hoof care program.

2. The incidence of painful hoof lesions or an outbreak of digital dermatitis may be reduced in the summertime, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Painful hoof problems can occur year ’round. Pain leads to lameness, which can lead to reduced feed intake and lower milk production. Additives like HoofMax can increase the potency of copper sulfate in the footbath, for healthier hooves with more cow passes, less labor and waste, and reduced copper loading on land.

Remember, keep your herd on their footbath program so they can have a happy summer, too.

For more information about hoof care and treatment talk to your veterinarian, or hoof trimmer.

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.

 

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.