Good value, great information and an even better lunch – 5 Day Advanced Course

Good value, great information and an even better lunch

A first-hand account for DHI’s Advanced Hoof Trimming Course

For Paul McClintock, Dairy Farmer & Owner, keeping cow hooves trimmed is a “perennial problem that never seems to get better”, and one he felt “deficient” in, with only basic skill. He joined our Advanced Hoof Trimming Course, hoping to grow his skill base and improve his business. He got that and more.

The course gives a comprehensive overview of what can contribute to lameness and works to help participants get competent in the technical aspects of hoof trimming. It’s often attended by people who want to move into professional hoof trimming, but also ideal for farmers like Paul.

Intensive, comprehensive five days

The intensive five-day course covers both the theory and the practice of hoof care and hoof trimming techniques led by DHI director Fred Hoekstra, New Zealand’s only fully-qualified hoof-care instructor.

For Paul, that face time with Fred and a mix of practical and theoretical learning was incredibly valuable.

“We were given an overview of hoof anatomy and biomechanics, then spent every day on farms trimming under Fred’s supervision. Those five days were absolutely vital for obtaining the correct technique,” he explains.

The five days also included an opportunity to work with a range of hoof trimming tools and equipment – something that Paul says has made his job easier.

“Learning to use a grinder was a bonus for doing large numbers. We’ve bought proper knife-sharpening equipment, too. I would not do without the proper tools again.”

The course went beyond trimming itself – with the opportunity to learn from the “nutritional guru” Greg Smith.

“I found that aspect very interesting, as it tied in with other opinions I have heard regarding general animal health in our NZ grass-based systems,” said Paul. “Those nutritional skills are also beneficial to other areas of animal health and production.”

Paul says the sessions also took care of the participants’ nutrition.

“We got very well fed! I thought I might hang around to help Fred just to get the free food!” laughs Paul.

Bottom-line benefits 

Paul says he started seeing the benefits of his improved expertise right away – he’s upskilling his team on the job and feels more confident that he’s doing what’s right by his cattle, which is good for business.

“The preventative aspect of hoof trimming has got a major benefit financially. I can prevent cows even becoming lame, but any that do I can fix easily, quickly and properly,” he explains. “The recurrence of lameness in those cows is reduced significantly.”

It’s those improvements to the bottom line that made the cost of the course very good value for money.

“Some of the cows we saw on farms already had someone having a go, with pretty average results, sometimes injuring the cow further,” he says. “You only need to save a cow or two, and the cumulative effect on production makes the course well worthwhile.”

A must-do course

The course has changed the way he sees lameness – and thinks it’s a must-do for anyone working on cows’ feet.

“Fred is an excellent teacher with heaps of experience, knowledge and patience. What you will learn may surprise you, but it will all make perfect sense,” he says. “If you are the one to do the feet, do the course. Don’t let your staff loose on the feet if they haven’t!”

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