Tag Archives: Footbath

Winter Hoof Care: What You Need to Know

Nearly every dairy in the US has an issue with digital dermatitis at one point or another. What are you doing to control it?

With winter right around the corner, you will have a real headache on your hands if you don’t have your hoof care under control.

Winter Hoof Care

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

Winter is an important time to keep hoof health in mind. Footbath schedules and treatments may alter due to freezing temperatures. Although many anti-microbials may not be active during the winter months, hairy heel wart bacteria remain effective throughout the year.

Research done by Dr. Nigel Cook shows that January through March are when infectious lesions that lead to lameness are most active (see graph below). Dr. Cook examined 10 Wisconsin dairy farms over a one-year period to collect this data. “Cold weather during the late winter may lead to manure handling problems in the alleys and reduced frequency of the foot-bathing, triggering an elevation in the rate of new [digital dermatitis] infections,” says Dr. Cook.

AgroChem winter hoof care graph

Source: Progressive Dairyman

In freezing temperatures, footbath additives can become less effective. Formaldehyde loses its effectiveness below 45 degrees. HealMax Footbath Concentrate uses no heavy metals or formaldehyde to stay effective in cooler temperatures.

As an alternative to footbaths, farmers may consider using topical treatments in the milking parlor. HealMax Spray or Foam can be applied during milkings to slow down the progression of hairy heel warts.

For more information about cold-weather hoof care, contact your hoof trimmer or veterinarian today.

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.

Hoof Care Protocol: Treatment or Maintenance?

How often should I run a footbath?By Dale Baker
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Expert

“Should we run a treatment protocol? Or a maintenance protocol?” That’s a question hoof trimmers hear a lot. To answer it, we first need determine exactly which hoof issues are present. Are we dealing with claw horn lesions? Infections? Hairy heel wart?

Second, we determine the prevalence of hoof problems in the entire herd. If the prevalence is low, your trimmer will most likely recommend a maintenance protocol to improve hoof hygiene. The approach developed by Dr. Nigel Cook of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is an excellent guide for assessing and managing hoof problems based on prevalence and hygiene.

If hoof hygiene is basically good, the maintenance footbath could run for as few as three days. However, fresh cows and heifers coming into the milking parlor can lead to a second infectious outbreak or increase in hoof problems. These problems can be addressed by running the newcomers through a footbath or by using a topical product like HealMax® Wart Spray.

In the case of an obvious outbreak, or a high percentage of herd with hoof problems, a treatment protocol is usually recommended. This may require running the footbath for at least five to seven consecutive days until the issue is resolved. At that point, we can switch to a maintenance protocol.

For questions about treatment and maintenance protocols in your dairy operation, contact 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.