Steps to help actively manage footbaths and reduce the amount of copper that enters manure pits and soil
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Step up your footbath management

July 20, 2014
POSTED BY: Jessica Light | DVM | MA | Senior Veterinarian | Dairy Technical Services | Zoetis

When producers wash out footbaths used in dairy barns and parlor alleyways, they are washing away more than wastewater. This wastewater contains copper from footbath solutions. And when copper-enriched dairy waste is applied to cropland, it can raise concerns about the impact on soil and plant absorption.1

Fortunately, producers have options to reduce copper sulfate use. HOOF-TEC footbath products can help run more efficient footbaths by reducing copper sulfate use by up to 40%.* On a 1,200-cow dairy, that means up to 8,320 pounds less copper sulfate per year.   

Here are some easy steps for using HOOF-TEC 1000 Footbath Concentrate to help actively manage footbaths and reduce the amount of copper that enters manure pits and soil:

  • Step 1: Measure the volume of your footbath. Length x width x depth ÷ 231 = ________ volume in gallons
  • Step 2: Fill a 5-gallon bucket with the proper amount of copper sulfate. Footbath volume _____ gallons x 0.3 = _____ pounds of copper sulfate
  • Step 3: Fill a pitcher with the appropriate amount of HOOF-TEC 1000 Footbath Concentrate. Footbath volume (gallons) _____ x 0.5 = _____ ounces of HOOF-TEC 1000 Footbath Concentrate.
  • Step 4: Pour the pitcher of HOOF-TEC 1000 Footbath Concentrate into the bucket of copper sulfate and place it in a clean, empty footbath. Place a hose in the bucket and let the water over flow. Fill the footbath to 1 inch below the rim.
  • Step 5: Test the pH. Your freshly filled footbath should have a starting pH between 1.4 and 1.5. Once it reaches 4.5, you should change it and start fresh. For easy footbath management, you can calculate an estimate of the number of cow passes per bath by multiplying the volume of your bath by 7.5. The actual number of cow passes in an effective footbath will depend largely on foot hygiene on the dairy.

Using HOOF-TEC products like HOOF-TEC 1000 Concentrate and HOOF-Tec Complete means better pH management, leading to fewer footbath changes. The less metal in your footbath, the less in your manure pit, the less on your dairy and the less in your fields.

*Based on traditional copper sulfate dosage rate of 5% of footbath volume. Copper sulfate dosage with HOOF-TEC 1000 Footbath Concentrate is reduced to a rate of 3% of footbath volume. The change in dosage results in a 40% reduction of copper sulfate use.

1 Extension. Copper sulfate foot baths on dairies and crop toxicities. Available at: http://www.extension.org/pages/22177/copper-sulfate-foot-baths-on-dairies-and-crop-toxicities. Accessed May 14, 2014.

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