We 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.
Footbaths are an essential part of your hoof care routine to prevent lameness and disease. It is important to use footbaths for the prevention AND treatment of hoof problems. Far too often, we see dairymen initiate a footbath routine only after an outbreak has occurred.
Building 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.
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.
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:
Spring time means freshening heifers for many dairy producers. New cows in the milking herd bring increased milk production and perhaps a few other things, like digital dermatitis.
To control the spread of digital dermatitis, studies have suggested that treatment of the disease must start with heifers.