Tag Archives: Hooves

Hoof Trimming & Timing

Dairy cow footbathWe all know that routine checks and hoof trimming can help to prevent lameness on your dairy. We recently sat down with Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson, our hoof care experts with a combined total of 65+ years of hoof trimming experience, to ask them some important questions on hoof trimming and timing.

 How often should I be trimming my herd?

There is a significant difference between hoof-checking your herd and hoof-trimming your herd. We recommend checking every cow in your herd twice a year. If Digital Dermatitis, foot rot or heel erosion are ongoing issues, you will need to increase the frequency your hoof care routine. Trimming is only needed if there is overgrowth and should be done as needed.

Is hoof trimming necessary?

The simple answer is YES! The whole idea behind consistent hoof trimming is to keep your cows balanced as much as possible. Trimming keeps your cows balanced to bear weight on all claws evenly. When the weight is evenly distributed, your cows will be more comfortable, and comfortable cows produce more milk.

Do I need a hoof inspection or hoof trimming?

There is a difference between hoof inspections and hoof trimming. You should have your herd inspected at least 2 times each year. Trimmings are only necessary when there is overgrowth.

Does every claw need to be trimmed?

No, not necessarily. Every cow will be different. You may not trim something off every claw; only those claws that need trimming should be trimmed.

How could I find a good hoof trimmer?

You will want to find a quality hoof trimmer to ensure the hoof health on your dairy. Talk to other dairymen, area veterinarians and nutritionists and see who they recommend. Once you have some recommendations, do your research. Check their background and coursework and see if they are still currently in continuing education courses.

Footbath concentrates like HealMax and HoofMax from AgroChem are designed to obtain results and promote hoof health for reduced risk of disease and lameness. HealMax remains effective in higher temperatures and won’t flash-off like formaldehydeHoofMax optimizes footbaths based on copper or zinc sulfate to achieve good control with less heavy metals and expense.

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.

Hairy Heel Wart: An Emerging Problem in Feedlots

Hairy Heel Wart - Digital DermatitisBy Dale Baker
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Expert

Hairy Heel Wart, (Digital Dermatitis), a condition well-known to dairy producers, is quickly becoming an issue for beef producers as well. According to Dr. Jan Shearer, ISU Extension Veterinarian at Iowa State University, there has been an increase in incidence of DD, causing a significant problem for the beef industry.

Digital Dermatitis causes heel erosion and eats away at the skin, causing very painful lesions most commonly found in the plantar interdigital cleft. Once a herd is infected, recurrence is common, which has prompted many feedlot owners to seek ways to manage DD. The answer to this emerging lameness issue for beef producers is to establish effective and economical treatment and control strategies, such as:

Topical products have been shown to be effective against hairy heel wart. Products like HealMax, available in a spray or foam formulation, provide feedlot operators with a formaldehyde-free, heavy metal-free option for digital dermatitis.

Footbaths containing copper sulfate are widely used in the dairy industry, and can be very effective in cleaning and disinfecting hooves. Feedlot owners are challenged to find the best location for a footbath so cattle cannot jump over or step around it. Copper loading on land can also be a problem. The use of footbath additives can help boost the potency of copper or zinc sulfate, remaining effective even after the bath is heavily loaded with manure and urine, and significantly reduce the amount of copper required for comparable results. HoofMax is a proven chemical additive shown to reduce copper sulfate use by up to 80 percent.

Want to know more about hoof care in feedlot? Contact Agrochem, Inc. today, or your hoof trimmer or veterinarian.

Source: Dr. Jan Shearer, Iowa State University https://beef.unl.edu/feedlotroundtable2012

Assessing Lameness in Dairy Cows

By Dale Baker
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Expert

ACI Blog Pic

The multiple challenges of fighting the “good fight” against infectious hoof disease can make it tough to gauge the real extent of lameness in your dairy herd. They can also inadvertently lead to some cows being retreated for the same stubborn hoof lesion at every trimming, while others who may need it go untreated.

Noted veterinary researcher Dr. Nigel Cook of the University of Wisconsin–Madison has authored a new guide that more effectively systematizes lameness management in large and small dairy herds. Calling current statistics “deeply flawed,” Cook aims for a truer picture of the extent—and causes—of lameness within an operation, outlining a defined plan for permanently reducing lameness levels over time.

Several years in the making, Cook’s system starts with locomotion scoring at specific intervals, based on herd size, and monitors the proportion of cows with abnormal locomotion scores over time. Detailed recordkeeping throughout ensures that all cows are accurately assessed, while also identifying the prevailing causes of lameness.

Among the primary trigger factors for lameness, Cook’s study calls digital dermatitis (hairy heel wart) “by far the most common infectious lesion found in dairy herds.”

When you’re fighting digital dermatitis and other infectious hoof diseases, manage it by implementing a regular footbath program using copper or zinc sulfate footbaths with HoofMax® by AgroChem, Inc. Producers use HoofMax to increase copper/zinc potency which promotes hoof hardness, and helps fight digital dermatitis and other diseases.

If you’re looking to limit the amount of formaldehyde being used, producers may want to consider using a HealMax®, as well. This formaldehyde-free solution helps reduce the incidence, severity, duration and recurrence of digital dermatitis in lactating dairy cows.

For more information on protecting herd hoof health, consult your hoof trimmer or veterinarian.

SOURCE: Nigel B. Cook MRCVS, “A Guide to Investigating a Herd Lameness Problem,” University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.

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. http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/actionplans/RIN2070-ZA09_NP-NPEs%20Action%20Plan_Final_2010-08-09.pdf