HyCare in dairy farms

HyCare for dairy farmers

Dairy farmers who choose to adopt HyCare take control of maximising hygiene and animal care. They prevent the introduction of pathogens, minimise cross-contamination and virtually eradicate disease within their companies. In other words: without infection, there’s no disease.

It’s a proven concept: HyCare really works! Dairy farmers increase their grip on daily operations and improve their financial results. The method focuses on increasing animal health and welfare, resulting in improved financial returns and job satisfaction. An integrated approach to hygiene and care prevents most infections in dairy cattle. The HyCare method can be implemented in every existing, regular stable that meets two prerequisites* and is based on five carefully intercalibrated pillars:

The five HyCare pillars

Farm animals deliver top performances and require the level of care that enables them to accomplish that. Ideally, they live in an environment optimised for this purpose. HyCare optimises the living conditions of animals to help them perform. The five HyCare pillars are the foundation for creating these ideal conditions.

These five pillars have one single objective: prolonging the lifespan of milk cows, by protecting them from prematurely having to leave the dairy farm due to an infection. Surfaces with sealed pores are an ideal foundation to accomplish this, as pores and cracks in places such as feed troughs are ideal environments for pathogens to settle. By sealing the pores in feed troughs, rations remain tasty and fresh while feed hygiene is increased. In addition to feed, hygiene conditions of drinking water must also be optimised.

Pathogens can also settle in another, less visible place: drinking water pipes. Drinking water directly impacts all animals. Clean water pipes prevent pathogens from settling in them and guarantee that your animals drink clean water. Once these pathogens can no longer settle in the immediate living environment of the animals, we must ensure that new pathogens cannot be introduced and spread in different ways. Pest such as mice, rats and flies are risks in this respect. Controlling these pests is necessary to prevent them from introducing and spreading pathogens.

The ‘germ-free living environment’ pillar consists of cleaning and disinfecting the milking equipment / milking robot(s),sort pen, maternity pen and sick pen. By cleaning and disinfecting all these areas correctly, pathogens don’t get a chance to settle where the transmission of infectious diseases is most considerable: in the immediate living environment of the animals. This brings us to the final pillar: optimal care.

While the other pillars focus on minimising the infection pressure in and around the stable, optimal care for milk cows is crucially important as well. This care boosts their immune systems, which helps them combat potential infections. Key factors in this respect are optimising the care for dairy cattle during the transition phase and consistent proper hoof care.

Work method and protocols

The foundation for HyCare is an ingenious work method. A dairy farmer who chooses to optimise hygiene by adopting the HyCare method, also chooses to adopt a new way of working. Most ´regular´ daily activities are adjusted and must be executed consistently. Examples include the hygiene lock and consistent washing and disinfecting of hands. While this work method requires discipline, it is a requirement for attaining the highest level of biosecurity.

Coaching and monitoring

Dairy farmers who adopt the HyCare method have to implement a new way of working. To support them in this process and ensure that all activities are performed consistently and properly, a personal HyCare Coach is assigned to each dairy farmer. The HyCare Coach maintains an intensive cooperation with the livestock farmer and regularly visits the company. During these visits, he monitors whether hygiene levels meet the high standards, identifies additional improvement opportunities and monitors the company's returns.

Before HyCare can be implemented in a dairy farm, two prerequisites must be met. First, all birds must be removed from the stable. Although birds are generally not considered pests, they have a similar crucial role in introducing and spreading pathogens as flies, mice and rats. Furthermore, the HyCare method can only be implemented in dairy farms that use one or more milking robots.

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HyCare benefits for dairy farmers

The HyCare method can be implemented in every dairy farm. Doing so properly requires the dairy farmer to invest both in his own capabilities and in his company. Why would a dairy farmer make this investment? The answer is simple, The many benefits of HyCare offer a generous return:

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Healthier animals

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Fewer antibiotics

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Lower mortality rate

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Increased animal welfare

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Improved performance

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More pleasurable work environment

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Quicker cleaning process

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Lower costs

The five HyCare pillars

Pore-free surfaces

Pathogens cannot settle if all pores in surfaces are sealed

Clean drinking water

Clean and tasty drinking water is indispensable for keeping your animals healthy

Germ-free living environment

BA thorough cleaning and disinfection process creates a germ-free living environment

Optimal care

Optimal care for animals enables them to perform optimally

Pest-free stables

Prevent pathogens from being introduced and spreading in your stable by stopping pest

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