Each lame cow in the dairy herd costs the farmer €290, research from UCD shows.

This reduction in profitability arises due to higher culling rates, increased veterinary charges, reduced reproductive performance and lower milk production, according to Maeve O’Keeffe founder of the Inspect 4 Hoof Trimming Crate.

This reduction in performance and treatment options will be discussed at an upcoming open day in Ballynoe, Conna, Co. Cork on November, 18.

The open day will start with hoof care expert James Taylor who will look at mobility scoring of cows. This will be followed by a live hoof trimming demonstration and Maura Langan, a veterinary advisor with Norbrook, will deal with the use of teat sealer in cows and heifers.

Farmers can address this issue of lameness by using the Inspect 4 Hoof Trimming Crate which allows farmers to safely treat lame cows, according to Maeve O’Keeffe.

The innovative turnover crush will allow farmers safe access to their cows to carry out routine treatments including hoof pairing and teat sealing, she said.

The Hoof Trimming Crate will also allow farmers who operate a robotic milking system the opportunity to safely treat cows with antibiotics during the drying off period.

It can also be used to prevent mastitis in in-calf heifers when it is a problem as it allows for the safe treatment of these animals while being safer than using a conventional crush design, added O’Keeffe.

When using a normal conventional crush, these teat sealants can not be administered correctly, the turnover crush makes life safer for these farmers.

Designing the Inspect 4 Crate

O’Keeffe added that she had experience of working on a 1,300-cow dairy herd in New Zealand where lame cows were treated on a daily basis.

But found once she returned home to the family’s dairy farm that treatment of lame cows was delayed which had a negative impact on the productivity of cows in the herd.

“We are dairy farmers ourselves so we know how important it is to cure cows as soon as they become lame, as it costs more money in the long run.

On our own farm, one problem I saw was that we had to wait for sufficient numbers of lame cows to call out the hoof trimmer. In the meantime, the first lame cow had reduced milk production and fertility performance and needed more treatment – which cost us more.

The first prototype of the hoof trimming crate was created in her father Eddie’s engineering business and following the successful operation the business was born.

Purchasing an Inspect 4 Crate

Presently, there are two models of crate available, a mobile unit and a fixed unit, to suit the needs of farmers.

The fixed unit can be purchased from €168/month, which Maeve points out is significantly less than the cost of a single case of lameness. Maeve also said that farmers or hoof trimmers who attend the open day will be able to avail of a reduced rate on units. There will also be a second-hand unit, from Maeve’s own farm, for sale on the day.

The crush design has been very successful to date and has won numerous awards including first prize in the Innovation Section of the Tullamore National Livestock Show in 2013 and first prize in the Innovation Arena (Farm Safety category) at the Ploughing this year.

For further details about the Inspect 4 Hoof Trimming Crate or the upcoming open day contact Maeve O’Keeffe on 087-9539581.

This article is in association with Inspect 4 Hoof Trimming Crate.