Lameness dropped from 10% to 1% with the help of Hoofcount Footbath

Alfie Byrne, a well-known agricultural contractor, is farming on the Wexford/Carlow border nestled between the Blackstairs and the river Slaney in the picturesque village of Kildavin, Co. Carlow

Farm background

Alfie began milking in September 2019 on an indoor system with two Lely Astronaut robots milking 110 Red Holstein cows, averaging 9,000 litres. Cows are housed indoors full-time, so making sure the cow’s feet are in good fettle is a top priority. The farm is a family endeavour, with Alfie’s children Aisling and Sean taking a keen interest in the dairying enterprise. In the milking shed, Easy-Fix cubicles were installed to improve cow comfort when cows are resting, with classical music played to create an ambience in the cow shed. Shortly after the herd started milking hoof-problems began to emerge in 10% of the herd. This has a major impact on milk production as lame cows are not inclined to travel to the feed barrier as often, resulting in feed intakes decreasing. To combat this problem, Alfie looked at a number of solutions and decided to invest in a 2.5 metre long Hoofcount automated footbath.

Benefits of Hoofcount

Alfie positioned the Hoofcount footbath directly outside the Astronaut robot, so the cows have to go through the bath each time they are milked. Aisling commented; “Cow hoof treatment has to be approached the same as teat control, done regularly with consistency to ensure that lameness never gets a major foothold within the herd. Lameness has been reduced from 10% down to 1%, which is a major cost saving on farm – with each case of lameness costing up to €300 between lost milk and treatment costs.” Alfie is in the process of building a new dry-cow shed and has been so impressed with the performance of the Hoofcount footbath that he has decided to add a three-metre Hoofcount bath for that facility. A vote of confidence for the Hoofcount.