Lameness reduced by farmers on the Hoofsure HELP Service

Arthur Hanna, runs 130 Holstein Friesian cows in Armoy, Co Antrim, and recently availed of Provita Hoofsure HELP service. Arthur explained they had been using traditional footbathing products, but the lameness problem was still getting worse. However, since starting the Hoofsure HELP programme and following the more aggressive daily plan set out by Kieran Donnelly from Provita, his herd lameness levels have dropped significantly.


“Initially in November 2017 around 60% of my herd had active DD so footbathing with Hoofsure Endurance 5% was done every day for 3 weeks, we also spot-sprayed bad cases with Hoofsure Endurance 25% or Hoofsure Combat ready to use spray which forms a film for extra protection.  I could soon see the DD healing with scabs going brown or black and falling off.  The dilution rate was reduced every 3 weeks and the protocol is currently a daily footbath of Hoofsure Endurance 2%.  The same mix lasts for 2 days so it’s economical to use. Hoofsure Endurance has helped me reduce the DD problem down to around 10% and I have less lame cows, but I will keep control measures in place. The cows are now milking better as they are not annoyed by sore feet. I can recommend it to other dairy farmers with confidence, but for it to work it must be used according to a tailored plan under the Hoofsure HELP service.”


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Provita Hoofsure HELP service demo – Reducing lameness and improving profitability

The demonstration hosted by Pat Lenehan and his nephew Pete was well attended by farmers with lameness problems on their farm.  Not all of them footbath regularly or have a system set up to allow regular footbathing.  Pat and Pete milk 70 cows in Crossmaglen.  When they were installing a new parlour, they contacted Provita rep Kieran Donnelly to arrange a no obligation visit to action Provita’s Hoofsure Endurance Lameness Programme HELP to advise them on their footbathing set-up.  They wanted a system that would minimise disruption to milking and allow good cow flow.  Following consultation with Kieran, the pre-cast concrete footbath set-up allowed a full side of cows to exit the parlour before they reached the footbath which allows more dominant cows to walk through more rapidly and the more hesitant cows to have space and go through at their own pace.  Cows are footbathed at every evening milking.  When Kieran scored the herd for digital dermatitis (DD) as part of the HELP service, the vast majority had DD.  A protocol with high concentration of Hoofsure Endurance footbath solution was put in place for 2 months with positive results visible within 2 weeks into the programme – active DD reduced from 85% to 20%%.  Once DD levels were low with infection pressure down, the concentration of Hoofsure Endurance used each evening has reduced.

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Team effort delivers Digital Dermatitis success story on Co Antrim dairy farm

Provita continues to provide its Digital Dermatitis advisory service with great effect, to dairy farmers throughout Northern Ireland. A case in point is the relationship that has built up between the company and Broughshane milk producer Allister McCullough, who manages the 120-strong Rocavan Holstein herd with his father William John.

“The cows are currently averaging 10,500L with good butterfats and proteins,” said Allister.

“Our plan is to increase cow numbers up to 130 by bringing in additional home bred heifers. The herd is milked courtesy of two Lely robots. We also strive to get as much grazed grass into the cows’ diets. And to this end, we invested in a Lely Graze way system last year.”

Allister is quick to confirm that lameness-related problems, particularly those caused by digital dermatitis, are no longer an issue within the herd.

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Developing a plan to prevent lameness

Lameness, a global problem:

‘We have a global lameness crisis in our dairy industry’ (Cook 2016). This statement was made during a keynote speech by Nigel Cook, at the recent World Buiatrics Congress in Dublin, Ireland. It was sentiment and focus of numerous speakers at the congress. Given the number of delegates who attended the lectures on lameness it is clear that the matter is high on the priority list of veterinarians and farmers alike.

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NEW: Provita Digital Dermatitis App

The customised Provita Mobile App allows farmers, vets and other professionals to measure and continuously manage digital dermatitis. It has been specifically designed and tested to be easily used in the parlour.

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Lameness problems? Provita are here to HELP.

In recent months Provita have been providing a new service designed to help farmers reduce Digital Dermatitis related lameness. An initial, no obligation, on farm assessment and a Digital Dermatitis check will be carried out by a fully trained member of our team. If the farmer adopts the plan recommended and tailored for them, a one month call back visit is arranged and the progress will be checked. After this, the plan can be maintained, increased or decreased depending on results. Once our team and the farmer are confident that the routine is working progress will be monitored on bi monthly or quarterly visits.

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New Hoofsure HELP service from Provita

Research from DairyCo shows that lameness can be successfully reduced by up to 70% through effective footbathing. It can be assumed that with the average UK milk output per cow and average herd size having increased by approximately 20% and 30% respectively in the last 10 years alone, lameness levels and stress on cows feet will also rise (Dairy Co Datum 2014).

The role of the veterinarian in reducing lameness levels has been discussed at recent conferences such as at the Cattle Lameness Conference 2015 and International Lameness Conference 2013, in Bristol. It has been suggested that not only has the size and shape of farms altered but so have the roles and responsibilities of farm owners, workers as well as vets and other contractors (Alcock, 2015). 

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Footbath to prevent lameness

The Provita stand at this year’s Sheep NI event was a focal point for discussion regarding a wide range of sheep management issues.
“It was tremendous to have so many flockowners coming up and discussing many management related issues which are of key interest to them at the present time,” confirmed Provita’s Tommy Armstrong.
“It was obvious that keeping hoof condition right remains a priority for sheep producers throughout Northern Ireland.
Tommy pointed out that Hoofsure Endurance, the unique footbath solution from Provita, is finding favour with leading sheep producers throughout Northern Ireland.

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