1993 - Volume #17, Issue #6, Page #13[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Dairy Farmer Offers Down Cow Service
"Farmers like it because it's an injury-proof way to raise downed cows," says Ingraham, who began offering his "Acme Cow Float and Transport" service about a year ago. He charges $150 for each down cow rescue.
The "Aqua Cow" system was invented by John Lastein, a dairy farmer in Denmark. The system lets you float a downed cow up onto its legs again without using any kind of clamp, belts or chains. You roll the cow onto a rubber mat and use a tractor to drag it into the trailer which opens at both ends. Then you close the watertight doors and fill the container with water that's been heated to the cow's body temperature (100?). Once the cow is recovered enough to walk out by herself, water is drained away through a valve at the bottom.
"The major problem with the Aqua Cow system as manufactured was that it required heating and transporting about 700 gal. of water," says Ingraham. "Lastein sells a water heating tank with his system, but the entire unit, including trailer and water heating tank, sells for about $14,000. I built my own system for less than $2,000 using Aqua Cow's watertight box with my own home-built water heating system."
Ingraham built his 750-gal. water heating tank with the help of neighbors Steve Kimball and Neil Dunbar. Water inside an insulated steel tank is heated by burners from a two 180,000 btu oil-fired furnace boilers. It takes about 11/2 hours to raise the water temperature from 35 degrees to 100 degrees.
Ingraham transports the Aqua Cow box and his water heater on a 1-ton truck flatbed. A silo unloader winch, mounted on top of the water heating tank, is used to unload the Aqua Cow box from the trailer. If needed, a 2-wheel trolley invented by Lastein can be used to transport down cows out of barns. "The cow normally stays in the Aqua Cow box for 8 or 12 hours," says Ingraham.
"Once the cow is up, if the owner or veterinarian wants to have abetter look, I can temporarily pump the water out of the box and back into the heating tank. After the cow has been examined I pump the water back into the box."
Ingraham is building two smaller "do-it-yourself' water rescue trailers that will carry an Aqua Cow box and a 650-gal. water tank.
"The plan is to drop off the trailer or the farmer can pick it up at my farm. It'll take about 2 1/2 hours to float a cow from start to finish," notes Ingraham.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Sandy Ingraham, RFD 3, Box 73, St. Johnsbury, Vt. 05819 (ph 802 633-4331).
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