2011 - Volume #35, Issue #4, Page #18[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
He Built His Own Hoof-Trimming Table
Nolt started hoof trimming nearly 20 years ago, first for his own dairy herd and then for neighbors. With experience as a welder for a bridge fabrication company, he built his first hydraulic tilt table out of scrap iron he had on the farm. As he built up his customer list, he sold his dairy cows and went into hoof trimming full time. He built an upgraded version of his table with new steel. When his son Martin ventured off into his own hoof trimming business, Nolt sold him that table and built a third table for himself.
"I put dual hydraulic pumps on it, so it goes up and down faster, and closes and opens the head gate faster. It makes it more convenient," Nolt says.
For all his tables, he started with an axle and built a frame and hydraulic tilt table that lifts vertically like a dump truck. Instead of large diameter tubing, he used 2-in. tubing with heavier walls. His unit is just as heavy and strong as commercial-built units, but it's more compact.
Nolt measured his biggest cow to determine the size of the chute, and it's been large enough to take care of all his clients' dairy herds. He even used it for an ox though the big animal was too long to shut the chute's back door.
A cow enters the chute and the front gate closes to hold the cow's head in place. Two hydraulic belts tighten under the cow's belly, and the table is hydraulically lifted up 's of the way. The feet are tightened down with plastic-covered chains before the table and cow are moved the rest of the way.
Nolt has an assistant, one of his sons, who moves the cows in and out of the chute and records information about hoof conditions and other problems that Nolt may spot. They average 8 to 10 cows an hour, and they trim 8,000 to 10,000 cows a year. When finished, the table is lowered onto the trailer bed and ready to be moved to the next location.
"Most of my customers don't know it's a homebuilt machine," Nolt says. Just counting the cost for the materials, he says he saved about half the cost of a commercial unit.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Nelson & Son Hoof Trimming, 4421 Conrad Weiser Parkway, Womelsdorf, Penn. 19567 (ph 610 589-1030).
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