Keeping your herd healthy and avoiding huge potential in lost profits annually is the main aim behind hoof trimmer, Graeme Parker, from South-west Scotland, who runs a YouTube channel, The Hoof GP.

He is now launching an online functional hoof trimming course, to educate farmers and the public, about the importance of good foot health in livestock.

“The education gap between farmers and the public is widening and we need to do something about it, it is important to educate the public as to why they are seeing some cows lame in a field – they are thinking farmers just don’t care!

“More often than not there is a big story behind it and the farmer will be doing something,” said Graeme, who has now been a full-time hoof trimmer for nine years and will have trimmed approximately 140,000 cows.

“My YouTube channels are also there to educate all farmers about how to look after their cows – A, because they love their cows and B, because it wouldn’t be viable financially not to treat them.”

An economic review of the costs of lameness estimated the average cattle herd lameness is around 25% and costs £2.20 cost per lame cow a day. For a herd of 400, that results in an £80,300 loss per annum, which is a huge loss for farmers.

Although the financial benefit is pretty significant it is also down to general cow health – if an animal is not walking well it won’t be yielding, rearing their calves or performing as well as it should be.

“At the end of the day, my job is to make the farms more profitable. Between time, effort and resources the money spent on hoof trimming should be making more money for the farmer than what they are spending on a foot trimmer,” he pointed out.

“People need to realise how much of a massive loss it is. It is a snowball effect, if you stop improving your herd mobility, lameness will always rise – and it’s not a problem that is going to go away overnight.

“Cows we see three times a year are doing the best, because if cows are left too long between checks, issues will arise and they’ll eventually need to be seen even more regularly as a result of their lameness,” said Graeme, who has some farmers that are as low as 1% lame.

Graeme and his full-time trainee employee undertake 60 farms in the Wigtownshire area, all within a 30-35-mile radius, with the vast majority of customers being dairy farmers, with 99% of cows treated being dairy.

Working up his career has not been an easy task for Graeme who still attends a number of courses and seminars to ensure that he has the correct education behind him.

“I began learning from Pieter Kloosterman, who used Dr Toussaint Raven’s Dutch Five step method, and even now every time I am trimming a cow, I will run the steps through my head. Every day is a school day and you will always learn something new through experience.

“Which is why my YouTube channels began. More and more farmers were asking questions and I always had to refer back to a specific case with a certain cow and it was hard to explain. So I found it easier for any unique case I got I would video it to explain to farmers what I was doing.

“I worked up a bit of social media presence, but I never expected my channel to get more than 600,000 subscribers. The whole aim for the channel is to get farmers treating their own cows.

“A little trim is better than nothing and I can’t emphasis that enough, it doesn’t need to be perfect to make the cow even a little happier until a foot trimmer can attend,” explained Graeme.

“I’ve been running my YouTube channel with weekly video diaries for a few years now, but it only scratches the surface. I want to show farmers a serious, detailed and structured way to get to grips with hoof trimming so that they can take ownership over their cattle lameness problems and in doing so, drastically save money and increase their profits.

“Ultimately, this furthers our industry and promotes proper hoof care,” added Graeme, who is now launching an online functional hoof trimming course for all to attend, costing £299 plus VAT.