Tag Archives: copper sulfate
By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts
Copper 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.
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.
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.