Diamond Hoof Care https://diamondhoofcare.com Call Now: 1 (800) 617-8908 Fri, 15 Jun 2018 17:27:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 Hoof trimming chutes to handle lameness https://diamondhoofcare.com/hoof-trimming-chutes/ Wed, 24 Jan 2018 13:00:59 +0000 https://diamondhoofcare.com/?p=6702 The post Hoof trimming chutes to handle lameness appeared first on Diamond Hoof Care.

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Hoof trimming chutes: assets that get the job done

I think we can all agree that lame cows are a source of frustration and anxiety. Besides, hoof trimming is quite the chore. When we milk our cows, we get help from neat parlour facilities and milking robots. It is a routine job and having technology at our disposal makes it easy. But what about hoof care? The sooner we give lame cows proper attention, the better our chances of success! Can we get help here? Of course. Professionals know that using hoof trimming chutes gets the job done safely and expertly.

What you see below is an overview of the various hoof trimming chutes available in our North American market. For easy reference, we have listed them in alphabetical order by product name.

Note: chutes are also referred to as hoof trimming stalls or hoof trimming crushes.

You can download a PDF version of this article so you can print it and give it to others.

Alphabetical Index

Here’s an overview of the hoof trimming chutes this article covers. Click on an item in the list to jump to it directly.

Appleton Steel

Appleton Steel is an upright hydraulic hoof trimming chute for hoof trimming professionals and stationary use on farms.

Specifications

Hydraulic-operated unit available Yes
Manually-operated unit available No
Professional hoof trimmer models Yes
On-farm models Yes
Upright style chutes Yes
Lay-over chutes No

Comfort Hoof Care

The Comfort Chutes are available in either manual or hydraulic models for hoof trimmers and farms.

Specifications

Hydraulic-operated unit available Yes
Manually-operated unit available Yes
Professional hoof trimmer models Yes
On-farm models Yes
Upright style chutes Yes
Lay-over chutes No


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Custom Chutes

Custom Chutes builds all the layover hoof trimming chutes to order. Thus, customers have input in the chute design.

Specifications

Hydraulic-operated unit available Yes
Manually-operated unit available No
Professional hoof trimmer models Yes
On-farm models No
Upright style chutes No
Lay-over chutes Yes

Dr. Hoof

Dairy farmers can use the Dr. Hoof chute for hoof trimming and other cow care procedures.

Specifications

Hydraulic-operated unit available No
Manually-operated unit available Yes
Professional hoof trimmer models No
On-farm models Yes
Upright style chutes Yes
Lay-over chutes No

Canadian dealers

The Dr. Hoof chute is available through various Canadian dealers:

Extreme Chute Company

The Extreme Chute is a lay-over chute available in pull and truck-mounted versions. The company will customize it to your needs.

Specifications

Hydraulic-operated unit available Yes
Manually-operated unit available No
Professional hoof trimmer models Yes
On-farm models Yes
Upright style chutes No
Lay-over chutes Yes

KVK Hydra Klov

KVK’s upright hoof trimming chutes are for farmers and professional hoof trimmers.  

Specifications

Hydraulic-operated unit available Yes
Manually-operated unit available Yes
Professional hoof trimmer models Yes
On-farm models Yes
Upright style chutes Yes
Lay-over chutes No

Canadian dealers

The KVK chute is available through various Canadian dealers:

Mid Valley Manufacturing

Mid Valley’s stationary hoof trimming chutes are for on-farm trimming jobs.  

Specifications

Hydraulic-operated unit available Yes
Manually-operated unit available No
Professional hoof trimmer models No
On-farm models Yes
Upright style chutes No
Lay-over chutes Yes

Paul’s Hoof Chute

Paul’s hoof trimming chutes are for on-farm hoof care. However, they also come in handy for general cow care.  

Specifications

Hydraulic-operated unit available No
Manually-operated unit available Yes
Professional hoof trimmer models No
On-farm models Yes
Upright style chutes Yes
Lay-over chutes No

Real Tuff

This manual, upright chute offers a solution for hoof-trimming on-farm. In addition, it can serve as an ‘intensive-care’ unit when your cows need other health treatments.

Specifications

Hydraulic-operated unit available No
Manually-operated unit available Yes
Professional hoof trimmer models No
On-farm models Yes
Upright style chutes Yes
Lay-over chutes No

Canadian dealers

The Real Tuff Hoof Trimming Chute is available through various Canadian dealers. You can find a list on their website:

Riley Built

The Riley Built lay-over chute comes in three hoof trimming models. Both farmers and professional hoof trimmers use it.

Specifications

Hydraulic-operated unit available Yes
Manually-operated unit available No
Professional hoof trimmer models Yes
On-farm models Yes
Upright style chutes No
Lay-over chutes Yes

Tuffy Tilt

The Tuffy Tilt is a portable lay-over cattle chute for use on-farm and by professional hoof trimmers.

Specifications

Hydraulic-operated unit available Yes
Manually-operated unit available No
Professional hoof trimmer models Yes
On-farm models Yes
Upright style chutes No
Lay-over chutes Yes

Wopa

The Wopa is an open-design, upright hoof trimming chute. It can serve both professional trimmers and farmers.

Specifications

Hydraulic-operated unit available Yes
Manually-operated unit available Yes
Professional hoof trimmer models Yes
On-farm models Yes
Upright style chutes Yes
Lay-over chutes No

Canadian dealers

The Wopa Hoof Trimming Chutes are available through various Canadian dealers

For Ontario:
Knoops Farm Service
RR #1
Embro, ON N0J 1J0
Phone: 519-475-4381
Fax: 519-475-4194
E-mail: knoopsfarm@execulink.com

For Nova Scotia:
Boundary Lane Farms
RR #1
Shubenacadie, NS B0N 2H0
Phone/fax: 902-758-3550
E-mail: g.damsteegt@eastlink.ca

Zimmerman

The Zimmerman upright chute finds application on-farm for hoof trimming and for general cow care.

Specifications

Hydraulic-operated unit available No
Manually-operated unit available Yes
Professional hoof trimmer models No
On-farm models Yes
Upright style chutes Yes
Lay-over chutes No

Canadian dealers

The Zimmerman Hoof Trimming Chutes are available through various Canadian dealers. 

Davon Sales Inc.
50 Lansdowne Ave
Woodstock, ON N4T 1S3
Dealer website
Product link

Island Dairy Services
18 Exhibition Dr
Charlottetown, PE C1A 5Z5
Dealer website

McCann Farm Automation Ltd.
3837 Sand Hill Rd

Seeleys Bay, ON K0H 2N0
Facebook page

Meinen Brothers Agri Service
4628 Lougheed Hwy
Agassiz, BC V0M 1A3

Dealer website

Red Isle Dairy Services
1185 Irishtown Rd

Kensington, PE C0B 1M0

Looking for a printable copy of this post? Download the PDF version here.

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Four hoof experts share tips on hoof wrapping https://diamondhoofcare.com/hoof-wrapping-tips/ Wed, 10 Jan 2018 13:00:54 +0000 https://diamondhoofcare.com/?p=7017 The post Four hoof experts share tips on hoof wrapping appeared first on Diamond Hoof Care.

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Wrapping has been around for years as a way of dealing with hoof problems. The purpose of applying wraps varies between farmers and hoof trimmers. Some apply wraps to keep manure away from the wound. Others use it to keep the product on the hoof for an extended period of time. Still others would rather avoid wraps wherever possible.

We always want to hear what the experts have to say on any aspect of hoof care. When the subject of wrapping came up, we thought we should pick some professionals brains. So, we had a chat with four seasoned hoof trimmers. We asked them to share their experience, tell us about what they consider the best way to apply a hoof wrap. Our conversations also touched on how wrapping can fit into a successful hoof care protocol.

How tight is all right with wrapping?

We know that sometimes the purpose of a wrap is defeated because it’s too tight and actually harms the hoof. So we asked our pros to offer some tips on how to apply it properly so that producers can avoid this mistake.

According to Raymond Bouais, a professional hoof trimmer and dairy farmer from Sabrevois, Quebec, over-tightening is one of the biggest mistakes. He advises starting in between the claws, keeping slight pressure with your thumb when applying the wrap. A few turns will suffice, he says.

Mark Van Herk, a partner in Chinook Hoof Care from Diamond City, Alberta, suggests less wrap. If you use one roll of wrap for three feet, the wrap could become loose and maybe even fall off after a few days, he says.

Anette Örtenberg operates Anettes Klövvård, her hoof trimming business located in Vänge, Sweden. She has been using her method for more than 20 years with invariable success. Here’s how you do it her way. Start by cleaning the hoof all around the place where the wrap will sit and proceed with putting an elastic wrap. A practical tip: you should be able to get two fingers between the wrap and the skin. It’s important to have the wrap half on the skin and half on the hoof to reduce its tightness. After the cotton wrap, she puts an elastic “stick-on-wrap” and finishes with sports tape. When you get the tightness right, forgetting to remove the wrap shouldn’t be a problem because it’s loose enough. Besides, the cotton beneath prevents the wrap from getting too tight.

Albert Cousineau, an Ontarian hoof trimmer since 1980, believes that wrap quality is key. Sometimes you may have to go with a tighter wrap, he notes. For example, farmers may provide wraps exposed to too much moisture and those won’t stick. In such cases, the wrap will have to be tight and tied. If it’s too loose, it may come off within minutes of the cow leaving the chute.

When’s footbathing back on the agenda?

So, we’ve done the trimming and applied the wrap. At this point, some dairy farmers start wondering when they can let the cow back into the footbaths.

Mark says it would be best to resume footbaths as soon as the wraps come off. If producers set up the footbath on the day they cut off the wraps, the warts that haven’t yet fully healed will get a second hit before they have a chance to grow back too much.

According to Raymond, the treated animals have to return to the regular footbath routine one week after the wraps come away. Anette also advocates a wait of one week, which is also how long she lets a wrap sit on for best results. Albert suggests that farmers hold off on the footbath for a couple of days.

How do we approach monitoring?

Applying the wrap is just the start. Successful treatment requires monitoring, so we asked our experts to share their best practices. This includes the best time to check up on the cows receiving treatment.

Raymond points out that it all depends on the severity of the lesion and the products used. When dealing with any horn disease, a wrap should be used in cases of excessive bleeding. It will stop the blood and you can remove it the next day. When you use Hoof-fit Gel to treat digital dermatitis lesions, you should not keep the wrap on longer than three days. Raymond goes on to note that problems with wraps often occur because producers don’t remove them as prescribed. Trimmers have to explain how important it is to reassess the lesions and repeat the treatment if necessary.

Mark suggests asking your trimmer for a list of cows that need re-wrapping. The really big warts will need a second hit to ensure they die off. With smaller warts, he advises washing the feet in the parlor and monitoring the warts. If one becomes visible, you must wrap it right away to stop its growth and reduce the odds of bacteria spreading to the other cows.

Anette recommends checking up after a week. This is how long it usually takes for digital dermatitis or interdigital infection to heal without antibiotic treatment. Although it seldom happens, the hoof may require another wrap for another week.

Albert suggests that farmers examine the foot when removing the wrap. If it looks like a re-wrap is in order, they should leave it be for a day and then re-apply the wrap, keeping it on for two days. Unfortunately, very few farmers look at the foot when they remove the wrap, he notes.

Any parting words?

WrapAway

WrapAway© – the ultimate & safe wrap remover

Mark has something to add. He advises keeping your wraps in a heated location so that they remain sticky and adhere to the foot. Cold wraps will fall off way too quickly. And when the wraps are too tight, all the product will squish out, not to mention that the cow will have reduced blood flow to the foot. So, you’ll end up doing more harm than good.

Thus the pros have spoken and we greatly appreciate their contribution. We constantly strive to improve our knowledge base and share valuable tips with dairy farmers. Remember: you have allies in your fight for hoof health! Stay positive and if you have any burning questions, shoot us an email and we’ll get working on those answers.

Meet the contributors

Raymond Bouais

Raymond Bouais

Owner of La Sabotiere

Mark Van Herk

Mark Van Herk

Hoof trimmer at Chinook Hoof Care

Anette Örtenberg

Anette Örtenberg

Owner of Anettes Klövvård

Albert Cousineau

Albert Cousineau

Hoof trimmer

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The post Four hoof experts share tips on hoof wrapping appeared first on Diamond Hoof Care.

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Concrete Flooring: Chat with Tom Woodall of AGRI-TRAC™ https://diamondhoofcare.com/concrete-flooring-tom-woodall-agri-trac/ https://diamondhoofcare.com/concrete-flooring-tom-woodall-agri-trac/#comments Wed, 27 Dec 2017 19:25:37 +0000 https://diamondhoofcare.com/?p=6785 The post Concrete Flooring: Chat with Tom Woodall of AGRI-TRAC™ appeared first on Diamond Hoof Care.

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It’s difficult getting the dairy barn floor right, isn’t it? Say you go with concrete flooring, which is by far the most popular choice. While durable and easy to clean, it’s also the most unforgiving surface for cows. Make it too abrasive and you’ll speed up hoof wear, raising the incidence of lameness. If your concrete flooring is too smooth, it can lead to injuries as a result of poor traction.

Concrete flooring repaired by AGRI-TRAC

Poor floor imprint repaired by AGRI-TRAC. Image obtained from Tom Woodall.

There’s no doubt that barn floors are critically important. Dairy cows spend up to 12 hours a day on their feet so it’s obvious that ensuring their comfort is essential. You’ll get your rewards in the form of lower risk of hoof disease and lameness, increased productivity, and higher profitability.

But even if we agree that cows must feel as comfortable as possible, it takes special attention to detail when it comes to concrete flooring. In search of an expert opinion on the matter, we got in touch with Tom Woodall. He is the owner of Woodstock, Ontario-based AGRI-TRAC™ – a company specializing in dairy barn renovations and stable installations. In 1993, AGRI-TRAC™ began working on the concept of Traction-Milling™. The patented equipment and process make concrete flooring non-slippery, thus helping prevent injuries and improving hoof health.

Our Koos Vis approached Tom with questions ranging from the start of it all to how hoof trimmers fit into the picture. So, sit back, reach for a refreshing drink, and enjoy the conversation.

Concrete Flooring Repaired

Closeup of a bad imprint after repair by AGRI-TRAC. Image obtained from Tom Woodall.

Koos: You talk a lot about flooring in dairy facilities. Could you share with our readers how you got involved in the concrete flooring business? Let’s hear when and how it all started.

Tom: I grew up on a dairy farm with a 1940s-era barn: wooden stalls, a litter carrier manure system and old, very slippery, hand-mixed concrete flooring. Cows would always fall when we let them out. We didn’t know any different or how to fix it. In 1975, I had a summer job with a barn renovator installing stable cleaners and new tie-stalls. I fell in love with the difference we could make for farmers and their cows! I became his business partner and have been developing ways to improve barns and livestock handling facilities ever since.

As the dairy industry shifted to free-stall barns, so did we and flooring became more and more of an issue. Questions started cropping up such as what was best for excellent traction versus hoof wear, lameness, and ease of keeping a floor clean. Easy to do when pouring a new floor, but what to do about existing floors that became slippery? Breaking out 4-6 inches of perfectly good concrete because the top 1/8th of an inch was wrong simply did not make sense. So, we consulted with hoof trimmers and dairy producers for several years and combined their input with what we already knew from 25 years of pouring barn floors to develop a way of easily and economically changing that top smooth surface to provide the perfect texture for traction without hoof damage.

Since 1997, we have provided 6 million ft2 of Traction-Milling™ in 2,250 facilities throughout Canada and the United States.


Tired of looking at lame cows? There are ways to safely hold the animal. Visit this chute resource page today!
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Koos: You have visited many farms in Canada. Why do people usually contact you?

Tom: There are two reasons. First, the farm has a slippery floor problem, and second, the farmer wants our advice before pouring a new floor. With my experience pouring floors between 1975 and 2001 and my old partner doing the same since the 1950s, there is a lot of practical know-how we have that cannot be gained from a laboratory or from books. I can talk with farmers on a common-sense level and with contractors on a common-experience level. Having gained that experience, I like sharing it for free for the same reasons I mentioned before. It’s amazing to see the difference it can make to a barn and the cows in it! Information based on common sense should not have a price tag attached to it.

Koos: You have a special, unique method for preventing cows from slipping on concrete flooring. Would you mind sharing how you work?

AGRI-TRAC milling procedure

Traction-Milling the floor. This procedure is patented by AGRI-TRAC. Image obtained from AGRI-TRAC’s website.

Tom: Not at all. This actually goes back to your first question. Concrete is a funny thing. Farmers often have this attitude of “pour it and forget it.” Wrong! It is a tool that needs care and maintenance, just like a combine or a tractor. Even more so because you use every minute of every day, hopefully for decades. With our patented equipment, we can reverse the damage, wear or neglect of existing floors. We do it by grinding the slippery surface off and creating a new texture right into the aggregate (stones), which is the hardest part of the concrete mix of sand, stones and Portland cement powder. Hence, a longer lasting texture than what you can get with pouring, brooming, or imprinting. We also provide maintenance tips to give that floor and texture as long a life span as possible.

Koos: Is it important for you to know the condition of the hooves and to have contact with the farm’s hoof trimmer?

Tom: Cows are no different from humans when it comes to feet. If your feet hurt, your whole body hurts. If we have even a slight pain in our foot, we do the “head-bob” the same as a lame cow does. With livestock, there are so many reasons and variables that contribute to lameness. Who better than your hoof trimmer to know what those variables are from one farm to the next? On a farm where hoof health is good, there should be no problems with the Traction-Milling™ of the floor. Where hoof condition is a problem, it’s best to consult the hoof trimmer.

Depending on the problems, the particular floor areas or amount to be done can be determined to ensure the hooves heal at the fastest rate. In some cases, Traction-Milling™ will help the healing process. Constant slipping or sliding will cause hoof problems. Think about when you use a shovel: the hand that is constantly sliding gets the blister, not the hand that has a firm hold. It’s the same with a hoof. When it slips on a smooth or grooved floor, it often wears on the sides or the heel. If there is good traction, there is no frictional wear. The only time there will be wear is when the cow is turning. That wear will be on the toes, not on the heels. You want that and so does the hoof trimmer.

Tom Woodall Portrait

Tom Woodall at AGRI-TRAC

Thank you, Tom! If you need additional information, you can contact Tom at:
Tom Woodall
AGRI-TRAC Inc.
986 Lansdowne Ave.
Woodstock, Ontario N4S 7V9
Canada

www.agritraction.com

Toll-free: 1-877-966-3546
Cell: 519-536-6985

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https://diamondhoofcare.com/concrete-flooring-tom-woodall-agri-trac/feed/ 2
Talking with Australian lameness expert Peter Best https://diamondhoofcare.com/australian-lameness-expert-peter-best/ https://diamondhoofcare.com/australian-lameness-expert-peter-best/#comments Thu, 16 Nov 2017 01:58:25 +0000 https://diamondhoofcare.com/?p=6651 The post Talking with Australian lameness expert Peter Best appeared first on Diamond Hoof Care.

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Lameness is a problem no dairy farmer can handle alone. As we at Diamond Hoof Care keep saying, hoof health should be a collective industry effort.

Hoof Care Expert Peter Best

Peter Best – Australian hoof care expert.

That is, it should involve education, training, and knowledge sharing. Peter Best, an Australian lameness prevention and treatment specialist, supports this view.

Koos got to chat with Peter, who favours a hands-on approach to dealing with lameness. Having grown up on a dairy farm, the Aussie specialist is programmed to have a proactive attitude. On top of that, he finds his work with farms very rewarding. Here’s what else he shared with Koos.

Q: Peter, what guides you when recommending a hoof health system to a farm?

A: My approach to setting up hoof health systems is to make them simple to implement. They shouldn’t require a lot of changes and capital expenditure, nor should they be key person-dependent.

The other thing I do is to really look at what’s happening on the farm before giving any advice. After they’ve told me what they think the cause of their problem is, I often find that their lameness is the result of something totally outside of their train of thought.

Q: Can you give us an example?

A: A company recently approached me on behalf of a very large farm regarding milk quality. They think the source of a lot of their mastitis is the farm’s lameness problem. If they end up engaging me for the project, it will be an interesting investigation. I agree with them that the stress factor will be impacting the cows’ immunity levels, which in turn will affect their milk quality. However, they are blaming digital dermatitis (DD) and an inefficient foot bathing program. All the changes they’ve made to this program have had no effect on the DD. According to my experience and observations in Asia, DD has usually been the secondary lesion developing after a severe sole ulcer or white line that has gone untreated because the cows’ stress level is elevated and their immune systems affected by the initial lesion.

Q: In your experience, what major challenges do farmers usually face when dealing with lameness?

A: The biggest challenge I see in most farms is that they want a treatment that doesn’t involve looking at the foot in a chute. You have to pick up the feet to fully understand the problem. If only a lameness investigation were as easy as a milk quality investigation! It’s not like standing next to a cow being milked. Then you score the teat ends without having to restrain the cow.

Peter Best - training session

Peter Best – training session

Peter’s company, Innovative Farm Services, has been doing an extensive Asian study over the last three and a half years. It has been implementing a health education and training program, focusing on key areas that affect lameness rates and on introducing preventative measures. Peter shared the top takeaways from this study in a recently published article. Make sure to check it out: it’s a treasure trove of valuable information!

Also check out Peter’s LinkedIn profile and website

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Forage banking: no worries over summer feed supplies https://diamondhoofcare.com/forage-banking/ Tue, 05 Sep 2017 12:00:41 +0000 http://diamondhoofcare.com/?p=3920 The post Forage banking: no worries over summer feed supplies appeared first on Diamond Hoof Care.

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As we all know, summer is a very busy time on the farm. It’s also a time when feed supplies get scarce and metabolic stress in cows is more common.

In my hoof-trimming days, I had a client who told me that a “forage bank” had helped him eliminate stress on his farm. What I want to do today is share this idea, helping you create a safety net that will keep both you and your cows stress-free.

Metabolic stress – the physiological effect of trauma, illness, or injury – is a leading cause of lameness. It can happen in any lactation period and at any time of the year. However, we see it more often in the summer. An increase in acidosis is a contributing factor to metabolic stress and possible lameness. We can observe it in a fresh cow that has had a hard time getting started after calving. It’s also a threat when the silage pit gets empty too soon, and rations slip out of balance.

Farmers can run out of feed before the harvest ends for a number of reasons. It is unfortunate to find yourself short in April and having to buy three months’ worth of supply from elsewhere. Not only is this very costly, but the switch also produces a noticeable fluctuation in the herd’s rations. Of course, some things are out of our control. On the bright side, others we can prevent from happening.

Forage banking

As I said, forage banking is something like creating a safety net. It ensures that you won’t run out of feed. In addition, it helps you keep tighter control over feed levels.

And here is how it works. During harvest season in the initial year, you store an extra forage supply in the pit for an additional four to five months. This is only a one-time inventory stockpile that will create a buffer zone to offset the most stressful season. This will make your ‘forage year’ to run from November to November.


Forage banking ensures you won’t run out of feed by giving you tighter control over feed levels.
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Benefits of forage banking

  1. Green (fresh) and moldy forage is hard on the cows. So, when we have a forage bank with fermented silage that is neither, we can keep the feed rations in balance. We’ll thus prevent metabolic stress in the herd while waiting for the new feed to be ready.

    forage banking

    Figure 1. Example of forage banking in use.

  2. Summer is a busy season on the farm, what with all the field work and other chores. They don’t leave us with spare time to deal with extra lame cows. By having a forage bank, we minimize the stress and time commitment that go with buying outside forages when our reserves run out early.
  3. Life on a family farm sometimes means having our kids around and participating in summer activities. In such cases, we may reduce farm work to a minimum. This brings us back to the situation I described in the entry above.
  4. The hot and humid summer weather makes cows more prone to heat stress. It’s therefore essential that we try to avoid adding metabolic stress, which is very hard on the animals.
  5. We are not looking for any additional cows to trim, especially not in the already busy summer season. Keeping balanced rations will reduce stress in the animals and result in fewer cases of lameness.
  6. During harvest season, our nutritionists are most likely busy taking samples of new forages. This means they don’t have much time to balance emergency rations. Being prepared and knowing when we will run low can help us deal with these challenges.

Some other remarks

One important measurement we can use when creating a forage bank is an annual “quantity budget” for our forages. We can calculate how much forage we need and how much we have in storage to determine the break-even point. With this calculation, we can measure the quantity we need to store. Before we know it, we’ll also be increasing profits. The cows are healthier, their summer heat and metabolic stress hover at a minimum, and less lameness occurs. Last but not least, we get to reduce our own stress levels by setting up a forage bank. The result is a summer of more enjoyment!

We do recommend that you consult with your nutritionist on the proper rations to feed. Make sure that you also talk to your veterinarian about summer heat and metabolic stress.

If you have any other questions about foraging banking, or any suggestions, feel free to contact me through the Contact page.

One more thing…

You can also download a printable copy of this article – great for sharing with someone else! 

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Slippery barn floors? Water to the rescue! https://diamondhoofcare.com/slippery-barn-floors/ Tue, 08 Aug 2017 12:00:26 +0000 http://localhost/wordpress/?p=228 The post Slippery barn floors? Water to the rescue! appeared first on Diamond Hoof Care.

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Slippery barn floors can make it quite the challenge to keep your cows on all fours.

Concrete surfaces become smooth over time because of general wear. On hot summer days, floors caked with manure can lead to cow accidents and harm. The manure seems to just stick to the surface, rendering it as slippery as a skating rink. Still, there are solutions to control and avoid unpleasant occurrences.

Dairy herd owners can solve the problem of manure-caked floors by keeping them wet. Obviously, they will be walking a fine line to balance hot weather, adequate ventilation, and prudent water usage.

Yannick Blanchette has found a way to reduce slipping in the barn.  

“Daily spraying of the floors with our John Deere rig helps our cows to stay mobile and confident.” -Yannick Blanchette of La Presentation Holsteins, Quebec.

Yannick’s team uses the John Deere Gator daily in the summer. This, in turn, helps them reduce the build-up of manure on the floors. It also keeps the grooves clean and Agri-Traction open to provide adequate traction to the animals.


“Daily spraying of the floors with our John Deere rig helps our cows to stay mobile.”
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“This John Deere Gator has been a great tool for preventing cows from going down.”

 

A lame cow on a slippery floor is double trouble!

For achieving optimum results, you should trim your cows regularly. This will keep additional troubles at bay.

Producers can visit our trimming page for more information on hoof diseases and trimming. For you, as a producer, understanding the different hoof diseases is obviously important to prevent any hoof care and lameness problems.

Pour un vue d’ensemble sur les maladies des onglons en français.

Meet Yannick Blanchette

Yannick operates his 200-cow dairy farm together with his wife Eve and their family partners. Their farm is in La Presentation, Quebec (Canada). Yannick also provides hoof care supplies in Quebec.

Learn more about Yannick on his website or contact him via Facebook.

Sabot Solution logo

One more thing…

You should download a printable version of this article, and then share it with a friend and/or colleague!

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Sand bedding: does it increase lameness? https://diamondhoofcare.com/sand-bedding/ Tue, 08 Aug 2017 12:00:23 +0000 http://diamondhoofcare.com/?p=3242 The post Sand bedding: does it increase lameness? appeared first on Diamond Hoof Care.

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sand bedding facebook

Figure 1. Sand bedding in use. Photo taken at Evert and Lys Veldhuizen, Oxford Centre, Ontario.

Have you wondered whether your switch to sand bedding might be increasing lameness in your dairy herd? If so, you’re not alone in having such thoughts.

As one producer recently told me, they converted to sand bedding about a year ago, and it seems as if their lameness rate is going up. He explained that their problem seems to be mostly white line defects that often appear in two or more feet. Their professional hoof trimmer has tried different trimming methods, doing his best to control the situation. The floor is quite wet, causing the hoofs to be soft, and the barn is filled to capacity. Struggling to deal with the lameness issues, the producer turned to me for some answers.

I have trimmed some herds that are on sand bedding. However, I’m certainly not an expert on sand bedding. For this reason, I’ll offer some suggestions rather than answers.

Research on sand bedding

Let me start by directing you to a research paper that Dairy Science published a while back. It carries the title, “Effects of Sand and Straw Bedding on the Lying Behavior, Cleanliness, and Hoof and Hock Injuries of Dairy Cows.” You should pay particular attention to Table 3 on page 575. The study results show that hoof problems decrease with the use of sand for bedding. This has also been our experience with sand. In my opinion, it’s fair to say that good quality sand in itself is not to blame for the increase in problems in your herd. Cows love sand and prefer it for their bedding. Let me note again that we are talking about good quality sand. Some kinds are very sharp and will cause hoof problems.

So, what else can you consider when looking for a possible connection between sand bedding and lameness?


Results show that hoof problems decrease with the use of sand for bedding.
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1. Soft hooves

The producer I mentioned said they had a lot of moisture, suggesting that it was causing softness of the hooves. However, moisture is not the direct cause of such problems. Still, it’s always best to have the floors clean and dry. The dryer, the better!

2. Overall health

Have you noticed any increase in other overall disorders, like mastitis or DA? They might be the cause of laminitis as they can result in poor, thus weaker, horn production. These are major causes of lameness and have no direct relationship to sand bedding.

3. Slippery floors

Due to the sand, I cannot believe that the floors are slippery. However, slippery floors can result in a higher occurrence of hoof problems.

4. Slopes

Are there slopes in the holding area? How about long waiting times for milking? If the cows have to wait longer than desired or the floors are excessively slopy, this can also increase the occurrence of hoof problems. They will most often appear as white line defects.

5. Hoof wear and trimming

One final point that comes to mind is excessive wear. Sand can cause a lot of extra wear on the sole, and I have noticed a negative balance between wear and growth. My advice is to keep enough sole thickness in place and play it safe when removing the horn on trimming day. The horn is there to protect the corium. We should keep this balance in mind, and I’m sure we are all on the same page with this one. If we are dealing with short hooves, we shouldn’t trim just for the sake of keeping busy or making it “nice and white.” It’s also important to provide relief to the problem animals. Keep them on a softer surface, giving the hoof a period of rest. In cases of excessive wear, I also encourage the use of hoof blocks to promote healing.

Concluding remarks

I understand the frustrations and disappointments lame cows cause but keep up the good work! Tweak a little here and there, perhaps experiment a bit with a small number of animals. You could try something on five cows, and if it works, you can apply it to the rest of your herd. And you’ll always do well to seek the advice of your veterinarian or hoof trimmer.

If you have any questions or suggestions, whether or not it is related to this article, feel free to contact me through the Contact page. You can also download a PDF version of this article, and we encourage to share it with others.

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The ABC Chart: your guide to the dairy hoof diseases galaxy https://diamondhoofcare.com/abc-chart-dairy-hoof-diseases/ Tue, 01 Aug 2017 12:00:07 +0000 http://localhost/wordpress/?p=280 The post The ABC Chart: your guide to the dairy hoof diseases galaxy appeared first on Diamond Hoof Care.

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When you own a dairy herd, maintaining its hoof health is a constant challenge. However, we have some great news for you: there are ways to control and contain the impact of lameness. To begin with, you have a variety of great products at your disposal to tackle this challenge. Then there is the professional ABC chart of dairy hoof diseases, which three hoof care professionals have put together.

Let’s start with one very important thing you need to always keep in mind: Not all lame cows need the same therapeutic approach! That’s right. Sometimes just a simple hoof knife does the trick!

If you want guaranteed success in your battle with lameness, it’s important to know the differences between hoof problems. We can split them into two main categories:

  • Infectious hoof diseases.
  • Non-infectious hoof diseases.

Obviously, hoof problems can be mild or severe.

The ABC chart of dairy hoof diseases

To raise awareness and highlight the importance of hoof management, Karl Burgi, Dr. Nigel Cook and Dr. Dörte Döpfer have compiled an identification chart of the different hoof diseases. This trio of hoof experts have given us the ABC chart of dairy hoof diseases.


Success in your lameness battle? It’s important to know the different hoof problems. #AllAboutHooves
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What’s unique about the ABC chart?

  • All hoof problems are coded with a letter and their official name.
  • A color picture illustrates each hoof problem, complete with different severity levels for each of them.

Download and print a copy of the ABC chart of dairy hoof diseases. And here’s a great tip: pin it beside your hoof trimming chute. It’s an excellent reference tool for your employees and a great starting point for discussions with your trimmer!

Finally, what can you do with the chart?

  • Diagnose a hoof problem and treat it accordingly.
  • Have a copy beside your trimming chute for quick reference.
  • Use it as a communication tool for all team members.

In conclusion, we give you our verdict: highly recommended!

Meet the ABC chart creators

Karl Burgi

Karl Burgi

SAVE COWS®

Karl operates various businesses related to hoof care in the dairy industry. His personal passion and mission is to “Save Cows“. Hoof care training is also available at the Dairyland Hoof Care Institute.

Learn more about Karl Burgi on his website.

Dr. Nigel Cook

Dr. Nigel Cook

Department of Medical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Cook has spent over a decade examining the impact of the environment on the well-being of dairy cattle. Current research interests include evaluating the performance of the Wisconsin dairy industry using cluster analysis and examination of causal networks.

Connect with Dr. Nigel Cook on the website of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Dörte Döpfer

Dr. Dörte Döpfer

Department of Medical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Her specific research interest is the epidemiology of digital dermatitis in cattle. She is currently working on mathematical models for infectious diseases.

Dr. Dörte Döpfer can be contacted on the website of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Modelling: factors to consider in hoof trimming https://diamondhoofcare.com/modelling-cow-hooves/ Tue, 25 Jul 2017 12:00:06 +0000 http://localhost/wordpress/?p=306 The post Modelling: factors to consider in hoof trimming appeared first on Diamond Hoof Care.

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Are you a dairy producer who learned the basics of hoof trimming at home? I mean, perhaps your father taught you. He may have told you that the sole of the hoof needs full “dishing out” because this is the hoof form we see in pasture cows in their natural environment. But how do you proceed if your animals tread cement floors? What will be the best hoof trimming practice then?

It should be obvious that the answers we seek depend on the environment. Let me guide you through two basic scenarios, after which I’ll return to the trimming part.

The natural environment scenario (Figure 1)

The fact is that pasture cows have little, if any, sole horn. I’d like to include here dry cows and heifers inhabiting a dry environment. In these animals, the sole horn gets so dry that it starts flaking and falls out.soft surface

However, the wall horn is different. It’s a harder structure and remains intact most of the time. Take a look at the drawing of a “pasture hoof.” You can see that its wall will sink into the dirt until the bottom of the sole also starts carrying weight. As a result, we get weight distribution across the entire surface.

We call this a footprint. The same thing happens when you walk barefoot on the beach. Your footprint in the sand feels relaxing, doesn’t it? That’s because your foot sinks so deep in the sand that all of it carries your weight (even the arch) and the sand fills the gaps.

This also happens with cows in a natural environment. In short, their claws adjust to the soft surface.

concrete surface poor weightThe cement flooring scenario (Figures 2 and 3)

A shaped foot, with only the wall on the outside of the claw, will never sink down in cement as it does on a soft natural surface. Therefore, we have a tremendous weight load on the walls. The sole hangs, as it were, above the concrete flooring, never touching the surface. Because of this, it never carries any weight. However, the pedal bone (the bone in the hoof) stands on the sole.

 

At this point, we may see some lameness concrete surface optimal weightoccurring in pasture hooves that move into a new environment. Do your best to prevent it and provide these animals with timely trimming adjustments and environmental changes. If necessary, seek advice from your local hoof trimmer or veterinarian.

More on the hoof trimming part (Figure 4)


Balancing hoof for weight distribution is important and you should do it regularly.
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Let me finish with a few pointers on how far you should shape or model the sole of the claw.modeling example

To fill the void I described above, you need to leave enough sole horn to produce counter-pressure. Balancing the two claws for weight distribution is extremely important and you should do it regularly.

Some slight modelling will be necessary to determine if problems could arise. You can thus prevent potential issues from getting out of hand. However, overdoing this modelling, even up to the wall, will produce counter-effects on cement flooring. It’s better to play it safe otherwise you run the risk of causing lameness.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me through our Contact page. You can also download a printable version of this article – great for sharing with others.

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How often should I trim my cows? https://diamondhoofcare.com/hoof-trimming-frequency/ Tue, 18 Jul 2017 12:00:29 +0000 http://localhost/wordpress/?p=303 The post How often should I trim my cows? appeared first on Diamond Hoof Care.

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Today’s burning question: hoof trimming frequency

If you ask five people how often your herd requires hoof trimming, you may end up with six opinions. OK, that’s probably stretching it a bit but the fact remains that opinions on this matter vary greatly.

When dairy producers ask me this question, I tend to start the conversation with a question of my own. I usually ask if they agree with me on the key point of hoof trimming, which is the prevention of serious problems and control of lameness. I mean, don’t you feel that you gain so much more when you do your best to prevent lameness from occurring or when you minimize its effects?


Prevent lameness from occurring wins over just minimizing lameness effects!
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What causes lameness?

I have devoted a lot of time and energy to exploring the subject and you can check our other blog posts for more information about lameness and lameness control. Still, let me give you the short version.

Lameness can be the result of various environmental factors. These include housing facilities, feeding, flooring, and hoof trimming practices.

In addition, there are “cow-specific” factors that contribute to lameness. Examples include genetics, stage in lactation, and previous lameness issues.

That said, it’s obvious that one herd would be more prone to lameness than another. Moreover, some cows in the same herd tend to be more prone than others.

Timing guidelines

We subscribe to the view that producers should check every animal in their chutes twice a year. I bolded “check” for a reason, namely to emphasize that you should never over-trim a cow!

If the hoof looks good, you’ll get the feeling of satisfaction that the cow is all set and good to go for another six months. If you know that a particular animal is prone to lameness, make sure to check her again in, say, three months.

Preventive vs curative

I realize that herd owners often underestimate the impact of preventive hoof trimming. Instead, they take the curative approach. It is in widespread use but it only addresses lameness.

My advice? Start by determining the lameness rate in your herd. If it exceeds 2% per month, you should schedule hoof trimming sessions more frequently.

Some producers like the idea of trimming the whole herd to get it over with in one go. However, others prefer to call in their trimmer on a monthly basis. While both strategies are great, the latter needs proper record-keeping.

Concluding remarks

One final remark: we visit our dentists for regular check-ups and I sure am happy when mine tells me there are no cavities to fill. However, I also make sure to book an appointment for next time. Get the point? Good luck with keeping your cows in shape!

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me through the Contact page

One last thing

Download a printable version of this article, and give it to a friend or colleague!

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Residues becoming a concern? Antibiotic residues has been on the radar for a while. Does it really affect our dairy herds...
Where to Find a Hoof Trimmer

Where Can I Find a Hoof Trimmer?

"WANTED: Hoof trimmers! Please contact!" The Hoof Trimmer and his profession are an essential part of a dairy cow's...
Progressive Dairyman Interview

Hoof Trimmers and Veterinarians Can Work Better Together

Dairy producers rely on a number of professionals to help them day in and day out. While each professional works closely...
Canadian Non Antibiotic Medication Hoof Care

Intracare BV Hoof-fit Gel Non-Antibiotic Medication for Cattle

Press release February 25, 2016. Intracare BV produces Hoof-fit Gel: the first Canadian non-antibiotic medication for hoof...
7 Tips Combat Cattle Lameness

Seven Tips for the Best Time Management

Lack of time is the number one reason for not having a preventative hoof care plan in place on our farms. However, some...
Footbath Dairy Cattle

Overview of Cattle Footbath Method on Dairy Farms

A producer recently approached me after starting to question the ultimate success rate of the footbath method. He was also...
3 Factors Excess Hoof Pressure Cattle

3 factors causing excess pressure in the hoof of a dairy cow

Review on the webinar hosted by AHDB Dairy by Prof. Jon Huxley: Watch on YouTube Every farmer has had to deal with lameness...
Cattle Hoof Care Lameness Control Strategies

Lameness Control Strategies: Prevention vs Treatment

I’m sure you’ve run into lameness challenges in the past – or perhaps you’re currently facing some challenges? Or maybe...

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