The Hoof Supervisor System tablet device launched at World Ag Expo in 2010 now has a related software program that aims to make hoof records a smooth process.
The Hoof Connect software arrives with a CD and USB stick. The CD contains the program that is downloaded to a dairyman’s desktop.
Each cow is entered into the system with an ID number and related herd health information, such as calving date, bred date and dry-off date.
Once the information is set up, producers can use the software to pull up a trim list of which cows need attention and export that information to the USB drive. The dairyman hands the drive to the trimmer, who then loads the information into the tablet.
During the trim session, the trimmer records information about lesions for each cow and each hoof. That information can then be transferred via the USB drive back to the dairyman’s desktop software program.
The system is typically purchased by the dairy owner for a retail price of $595. The company offers an optional $59-a-year charge in exchange for support and version updates.
Supervisor System president Keith Sather says the company has been providing yearly updates to the device and software based on feedback received from trimmers and their dairy clients.
“This software was really developed to compile the valuable data the hoof trimmer was already collecting and turn that into easy-to-read records for dairy producers,” says Sather.
One such trimmer-producer pair using the software is Dave Brutscher of Day Star Dairy in central Minnesota and Justin Addy of Justin Addy’s Bovine Hoof Care in Sartell, Minnesota.
Addy visits the dairy every two weeks for routine hoof trimming, providing hoof care for 30 to 50 cows with each visit.
The 600-cow herd is housed in a six-row, sand-bedded, tunnel-ventilated freestall facility.
Addy had been using the tablet for about a year and a half. He first found out about the related software two months ago and recommended the software to Brutscher.
An avid believer in precision dairying and new advancements in dairy technology, Brutscher checked the system out for himself at World Dairy Expo in October and at the Midwest Dairy Expo in November in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
“He’s a super guy to start this out with,” Addy says. “Dave is very computer-savvy, and he’s been able to show me things about the software and how to use it.”
The digital trim lists have changed the trim session dramatically for Addy.
“It’s made things a lot easier,” he says. “There’s a lot less paperwork, and we don’t miss cows any more because of a lost list or one splattered with dirt or manure.”
Prior to purchasing the software, Brutscher was manually entering trim events from Addy’s reports into the farm’s herd management program.
With the new software, all data recorded during the trim, including specific remarks about individual hooves, is quickly transferred back to Brutscher’s desktop.
The software can provide a number of different ways of looking at the hoof trimming data.
Addy has found that a pie graph that breaks down the type of lesions into percentages is most helpful for him when troubleshooting hoof health issues with Brutscher.
Since the software maintains a trim history, the trimmer or producer can also look at seasonal trends in hoof health.
“This is a good herd of cows and there aren’t a lot of issues, but being able to see spikes of certain issues during certain times of the year allows us to focus in on those,” Addy says. “We can prevent the problem before it becomes one.”
Staying a step ahead of lameness is the biggest benefit of the software in Brutscher’s mind as well.
“After every time Justin is here, we will double-check the report for problem cows or cows that need follow-up,” Brutscher says. “Employees know if and when wraps need to be removed and cows that may require antibiotics. If we see an increase in digital dermatitis, we know that footbath protocols and frequency need to be reviewed. The data has also shown the advantages in productivity from staying on track with pre-fresh trimming in both springers and dry cows.”
While the system has certainly made information sharing easier between trimmer and producer, Brutscher says that he wishes the software was more compatible with his herd management program. That is an issue that the company is aware of, though.
Sather says the software works around the issue and gives the producer the detailed information that they need. If the producer is viewing a cow file in a herd management system, they can also bring up a side-by-side, split-screen report that shows the entire hoof health history of the cow.
This feature eliminates the need to have an interface going back into the herd management program.
Sather also reports that one client requested a smart phone interface. He says that this feature is not currently in place but may be a future update.
Overall, both Addy and Brutscher have been pleased with the results of the software.“This is a good, good system that makes all the difference in the fight against lameness,” Addy says. PD
See a checklist below photo slideshow to see if this technology is a fit for your operation.
Would you benefit from this type of hoof health management software? The following checklist can be used to determine if this new technology might be a fit for your operation.
If you answered yes to five or more of these questions, this technology may be one for you to consider.
TOP: Justin Addy visits Day Star Dairy every two weeks for routine hoof trimming. Photo courtesy Dave Brutscher, owner of Day Star Dairy.
BOTTOM: Hoof trimmer Justin Addy says one of the most valuable graphs the hoof software produces is one that identifies lesions as a pie chart. Images courtesy of Supervisor Systems.