Dutch Treat for Drumlina
Tuesday, 29 July 2014 09:09
SANDY Moore and son Andrew were the first milk producers in the British Isles to install a Vink Hoofcare Spray Mat last September on their family farm near Smithborough, Co Monaghan, RoI.
This followed a major investment the previous year in a new dairy unit, complete with two Lely Robotic milkers, for their Drumlina Pedigree Holstein Herd.
 This is a closed herd of 80 cows bred to maximise margins. “This past year our herd averaged 9,600 litres per cow at 3.7% fat and 3.25% protein in an area where cattle have to be housed for up to six months per year,” Sandy explained. “A totally different scenario to farming a few hundred miles further south where low input, low output herds are outdoors when in milk and fed almost no concentrates.”
  Sandy and Andrew Moore view lameness as a key animal welfare issue impacting on milk margins as AFBI, Hillsborough reckon lost income per lame cow averages £180 a year.
 “A problem our Vink Hoofcare Spray Mat plays a key part in keeping at bay as every hoof is sprayed as many as 14 times over a three day period,” Andrew noted.
Developed in the Netherlands by dairy farmer turned inventor Gert-Jan Vink the Hoofcare Spray Mat, unlike traditional foot baths, does not let the wash become contaminated. 
 Instead the pressure of the cow walking over the mat ensures her hooves are automatically sprayed in the right spots. There is no easily dirtied trough of water, the mat does not present an obstacle to animal movement, is permanently in place and can be switched on as required.
  As Andrew revealed,” Every three weeks for three days we turn the Vink Hoofcare Spray Mat on so cows leaving the Lely Robotic milkers have their feet washed.
 “An average cow over a three day period will visit a robotic milker 14 times. Though on some visits she will be rejected as not ready to milk, gain no feed and leave, but still cross the Hoofcare Spray Mat to have each hoof automatically sprayed with a water based solution of your choice.
 “Unlike old fashioned foot troughs detergent is not contaminated
Easy does it as the pressure of the cow walking over the Vink Hoofcare Spray Mat ensures her hooves are automatically sprayed after milking. Unlike traditional foot baths the wash cannot be contaminated. A Columba O'Hare photograph.
 after the first few cows have had their feet cleaned. This Vink Hoofcare Spray Mat really works a treat for us as lameness is not a herd problem.”
 Despite the temptation to use a beef breed bull as a sweeper to produce valuable dropped calves and stores the Moores concentrate on breeding replacement heifers.
 “Rearing replacement heifers is a costly business, but a closed herd helps us control where the business is going and dramatically reduces disease risk,” Andrew affirmed.
 “Currently we are producing more good, even heifers than we need so some are sold here in the yard or through Taaffe Auctions in Carmaross Mart, at Kells, Co Meath.
 “Having a productive herd where lameness is not an ongoing problem impresses buyers and is another reason why installing the Vink Hoofcare Spray Mat was an excellent idea.”
 With a second son Simon, working for Lely, another innovative Dutch company, it might seem Sandy Moore was bound to install their robotic milkers. However, the hard headed Monaghan milkman made the decision on business grounds.
 “Like the Vink Hoofcare Spray Mat the Lely Astronaut, I feel, is way ahead of rivals. So, yes, installing robotic milkers and the very latest Vink Hoofcare Spray Mat were big decisions, but the right ones. The margin of milk over concentrates displayed for each cow on the computer screen tells us we are on the right path.”
 The Vink Hoofcare Spray Mat is distributed in the UK by Agrihealth Freephone 0800 269180.  
THE Vink Hoofcare SprayMat gets a UK wide launch at the July 2 -3 ‘Livestock Event’ in Birmingham on the Agrihealth stand AH125, Hall 19.   Already proven and popular on Dutch, Belgian and Irish farms the Hoofcare SprayMat plays a key part in the control of contagious bovine hoof diseases.
  The brainchild of Dutch dairy farmer, turned inventor, Gerrit Jan Vink the Hoofcare SprayMat never lets foot wash becomes contaminated, a major fault in traditional foot baths.
Sandy Moore, son Andrew and grandson Robert with Stephen Murphy, right, Marketing Manager, Agrihealth on their farm at Smithborough, County Monaghan. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
 Instead the pressure of a cow walking over the mat ensures her hooves are automatically sprayed in all the right places. There is no easily dirtied trough of water and as the mat does not deter livestock from moving around it is left permanently in place. Only being switched on as required, typically for three days every three weeks to protect whole herd hoof health.
 The Hoofcare SprayMat consists of layered rubber mats designed to give a constantly available flow of water from embedded nozzles. The water being used to carry, whichever medication or disinfection you have selected.
 The Vink Hoof SprayMat is connected to mains water and a dosing pump so that a control unit can ensure the correct amount of medication is added. This always clean and fresh solution is then sprayed forcefully into every nook and cranny of every hoof as cattle walk across the SprayMat several times a day going to and from a robotic milker or milking parlour.
Coming from a practical dairy farming background Gerrit Jan Vink has designed his latest innovation to be both simple to use and maintenance free.  
The Vink Hoofcare Spray Mat is distributed in the UK and RoI by Agrihealth Freephone 0800 269180 or e mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  For further details browse www.agrihealth.co.uk