A leap forward in livestock handling
Cork farmer Maeve O'Keeffe is breaking new ground with her labour-saving cattle crush
It was a three-month work placement trip to a 1,300 cow dairy farm in New Zealand that inspired Maeve O'Keeffe to create her innovation to save on back-breaking farm labour.
Out of the hours spent paring the hooves of lame cows the Inspect 4 turn-over crate was born.
Maeve (25), who is a from a dairy farm in east Cork, explains that catching a problem early such as a stone lodged in the foot can save farmers money from lost milk productivity.
"I didn't like the equipment in New Zealand - I'd have to shove the cow in bend down and pick up the leg and when you're working behind it is easy to get a kick," she said.
"I thought it would be great if we could make something that would involve less physical work for me. If we could develop something for our own farm then we'd be able to treat them ourselves.
"We developed a basic turnover crush - it is all hydraulically operated and it has a back end that pushes in the cow. Then you have the cow in the enclosure, you fully secure the cow and turn her on her side and restrain all four feet.
"It is a huge advantage as you can see any problems that might be emerging on another foot."
Maeve never believed the cows would be as quiet and comfortable in the crate as they are. "I got a patent and it took us about two and a half years before we got it certified," she says adding they went to agricultural shows and were amazed at the number of people coming up showing scars earned from hoof paring.