Transform Hoof Health in Beef Cows

Jan 23, 2023

Written by Mr. Dwight Kickhafer with Zinpro
Healthy hooves enable your cows and calves to achieve optimal lifetime performance and excel in all stages from reproduction to the feedlot. Feeding the best diet that includes premium trace mineral nutrition optimizes hoof health and helps prevent lameness issues that require costly treatment. 
Addressing foot rot requires multiple strategies: 
  • Limiting environmental stressors that promote foot rot 
  • Monitoring the incidence of foot rot in the herd 
  • Aggressively addressing infection when it occurs 
  • Providing premium trace mineral nutrition that acts as a preventative measure
Combatting Environmental Challenges 
The bacteria responsible for foot rot are present in the environment through all seasons making the risk of foot rot a constant threat. Hoof issues are most likely to occur during wet environmental conditions or when harmful environmental factors like rocks or broken concrete are present. Hoof issues are made worse when cows’ skin and hooves have a loss of barrier function.  This can be caused by prolonged exposure to wet environmental conditions, inadequate mineral intake or if antagonists are present in the feed, or water that are preventing proper mineral absorption. 
Cows with weak epithelial barriers and lower immunity are more susceptible to these bacteria and future lameness issues. Trace mineral deficiency occurs over a period of time and the subsequent hoof issues are difficult to detect in time to treat – especially for cows out on pasture with less supervision. Feeding trusted trace minerals with unrivaled mineral absorption year-round helps prevent this. 
Foot rot can feel overwhelming when an outbreak occurs.  Hoof issues cause decreased dry matter intake and mobility, leading to poor reproductive performance in cows and bulls. Cows that do conceive while experiencing lameness issues have lower milk production causing their calves to experience lower weight gain. Additionally, serious hoof issues require more time, labor, and veterinary inputs that hurt your operation’s bottom line.  
Fuel the Herd for Healthy Hooves
Implementing a proven animal nutrition program will safeguard your herd’s hoof health and help prevent financial loss from hoof-related issues – allowing you to feel good about the health of your herd and your bottom line. Zinpro® provides unrivaled animal nutrition solutions that are proven to be absorbed and metabolized more efficiently. Feeding Zinpro® Performance Minerals® reduces foot rot by 30% and helps your cows remain healthy and mobile. 
The power of Zinpro solutions extends beyond your cows. Cows that consume Zinpro® Availa 4® during gestation have healthier calves with more robust immune systems and heavier weaning weights. Research has shown these calves also perform better in the feedlot with improved average daily gain and hot carcass weight. 
In addition to feeding Zinpro, it is important to observe environmental conditions that can damage hoof health. Keep an eye out for environmental threats like wet conditions during spring and fall, sharp rocks or broken concrete in areas cattle congregate like waterers, and feeders.  Also, be aware of wet sections that develop in shaded areas during the summer. This will allow you to find other opportunities on your operation to improve hoof health and cow comfort, especially when paired with Zinpro Performance Minerals.    
Improving Hoof Health Leads to Better Herd Health and Profitability
Zinpro® Lifetime Performance® cannot be achieved without healthy hooves in a beef herd. Monitoring your herd’s environment while feeding proven animal nutrition will decrease lameness for cows and calves, improve animal wellbeing and drive profitability.  
Throughout my time working with producers to improve herd health, many observe fewer occurrences of foot rot compared to those not using Zinpro. After experiencing the Zinpro difference, producers have confidence in us as their most trusted partner to manage foot rot challenges in your herd. 
 For more content like this, check out the latest issue of The Cooperator.

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