LOGO! helps Hoofcount to ensure healthy herds have happy feet
Have you ever wondered if it really exists – the milk from the proverbial happy cows? UK-based Hoofcount now has an answer, thanks to LOGO! Find out how Hoofcount's innovative approach is helping to improve animal welfare and productivity through data-driven insights. Siemens technology has an important role to play here, offering the agricultural sector the opportunity to upgrade farming technology and the potential for IoT connectivity.
Siemens has been selected by England-based Hoofcount Ltd., a revolutionary manufacturer of market-leading animal footbaths, to provide critical data-gathering capabilities that will have a significant impact on animal health and welfare, helping cattle and farmers become more operationally efficient.
Lameness is a major welfare problem in dairy herds. Caused by bacteria being picked up on an animal’s hoof, it can lead to infection, causing restricted mobility and serious behavioural changes.
The impacts include animal suffering, increased CO₂ footprint, loss of milk production, decreased fertility, increased treatment and vets’ bills, poor longevity, increased trimming costs and ultimately reduced profit margins. And these impacts are a major focus for the whole Food and Beverage sector’s supply chain.
Lameness in a 100-cow herd is estimated to cost farmers several thousands per year, while across the UK dairy industry, for example, the financial impact of lameness is in excess of £100 million.
But with regular hoof baths for the cows, preventative measures can be taken to reduce hoof illness and lameness...
With its humble beginnings as a small family firm in rural Lancashire and a deep understanding of farmers and their animals’ needs, Hoofcount has developed its range of automated footbaths suitable for every farm.
Every Hoofcount footbath is designed, folded and built in its continuously growing workshops in Lancashire, with the company producing around 300 footbaths a year. Key benefits of the baths include:
- Optimisation to reduce water and chemical usage, thereby reducing overall operational costs.
- Easy maintenance with a built-in cleaning system which takes under 3 minutes using two chemical pumps after the set number of cows have passed through.
- A Smart Controller allows users to monitor and change settings from a mobile device, as well as receive important notifications.
Hoofcount's collaboration with Siemens
Hoofcount is utilising Siemens’ expertise in combining the real and digital worlds using LOGO!, an intelligent logic module for small automation projects in industrial settings.
LOGO! manages the control of the key mechanisms of Hoofcount's footbaths, such as chemical and water pumps, and animal feed controls.
The controllers allow Hoofcount to track the cows that go through its footbaths and provide valuable data on the herd, which can then be displayed on an HMI screen for visualisation. The baths can be controlled remotely and have the capability to feed data up to the cloud for analytics.
“When we first introduced footbaths in the UK in 2012, we were already ahead of the game because it was quite new,” said Anthony Marsh, Dairy Engineer and Founder of Hoofcount Ltd. “But, with the rapid advancements in technology, we’ve reached a point where we need to go that extra mile and be revolutionary again. And, to keep leading the way, we needed that input and expertise from Siemens.
“Working with Siemens has given us thrust for producing the technologically advanced Hoofcount. Simply put, we have transformed our footbaths into a pioneering piece of equipment that will eventually help cattle farmers in making data-driven decisions.”
Through working with Siemens, Hoofcount’s footbath production has more than doubled each year, enabling the company to also grow twice as much.
Data from its customers has shown that using the footbaths results in a reduction in lameness, with financial savings of £4000 to £8000 per 100 cows per year.
As a family business, Hoofcount prides itself with its strong bond to farmers all across the world. Accordingly, Hoofcount footbaths are now being shipped to over 16 countries including Canada, Germany, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
"Our partnership with Siemens enables us to be ideally positioned to move forward quickly and sustainably, and scale the technologies as and when required, with the assurance of benefiting from Siemens’ industrial experience."
Anthony Marsh, Founder Hoofcount
Through Hoofcount’s close work with Siemens, its design philosophy has been underpinned by industrial learnings such as the use of open standards. Creating closer ties to the agriculture industry and bringing the latest technology that can support the welfare of farm animals – a crucial factor in running healthy farms – makes Siemens proud.
The possibilities are endless...
The technologies used by Hoofcount are scalable and have the ability to be connected to IoT devices when the need arises. Smart controls allow farmers to monitor and control the footpath via an app, regardless of location.
Anthony Marsh added, “Clearly, our partnership with Siemens enables us to be ideally positioned to move forward quickly and sustainably, and scale the technologies as and when required with the assurance of benefiting from Siemens’ industrial experience. Hoofcount is certainly well-positioned to continue our market-leadership and assist cattle farmers in growing their business whilst ensuring farm animals' health is top priority."