Tuesday, 06 October 2020 12:21

Keeping tails clean now’s a ‘Switch’

Written by  Mark Daniel
The Switch tail trimmer is not only ergonomically designed to cows’ tails but also reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury in users. The Switch tail trimmer is not only ergonomically designed to cows’ tails but also reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury in users.

Any dairy farmer who has taken a smack in the face from a dung-encrusted cow’s tail on a frosty morning will know the feeling and wonder how to stop it happening again.

With tail docking banned since October 2018, tail trimming has become more popular. However, frustrations still abound as traditional clippers are not particularly suited to removing dags or matted hair. Firstly, because these were probably designed for removing wool from a sheep’s back; secondly, because they are quite heavy.

Lisa Newman, a farmer’s daughter from New Plymouth and a student at Massey University, was very familiar with the problem. So she set out to design a dedicated trimmer that was suited to the conformation of the cow and also friendly for the operator.

Extensive initial research within the dairy industry, which also involved speaking with veterinarians and animal care specialists, confirmed the need. But she also went on to look at a wide range of animal sizes, alongside shed design and working environments.

Newman’s design, Switch, is the only device that is ergonomically designed to trim cows’ tails – as well as reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury in users. Currently a design concept, it is at a stage where discussions with potential manufacturers regarding commercialisation are happening. It was also an entrant in the Fieldays Innovation Awards and recently took out a James Dyson design award.

Featuring clipper blades that mimic the profile of a cow’s tail, so trimming more area each pass than a traditional flat trimmer. With the outer blade oscillating over an inner fixed blade, there is reduced risk of injury to the animal and the user. 

Power is provided by an 18 volt/1.5Ah lithium-ion battery that testing suggests should have a 2-hour run time. Weighing in at 1.5kg, that weight is counterbalanced to take away the potential for RSI. Meanwhile, the cutting head is inclined at 40 degrees to keep the user’s wrist in a more natural position. 

The on/off switch is situated on the top face of the unit, allowing users to use the device in any position that feels more comfortable. 

“Regular tail trimming helps promote better animal health and well being by keeping the animals’ cleaner at the back end and especially around the udder and teats,” Newman explains.

“It also helps reduce the risk of an animal from losing a part of its tail, as blood vessels become constricted by dried faecal matter and can result in self-docking.”

She says Switch is effective and easy to use.

“I also hope it will encourage farmers to move to tail trimming, rather than continue with the illegal practice of tail docking.”

www.lisamareedesigns.org

More like this

World's fastest dry matter analyser

Ag-tech company Consumer Physics is introducing SCiO Cup – said to be the world’s fastest, portable, lab-grade forage dry matter analyser.

Simmm twin water blasters

Italian made Simmm Power Cleaner 100/11 and Power Gun 100/11 single-phase (230 volt) electric water blasters are proving popular in many applications.

Featured

New investment in spirulina production

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Sustainable Food & Fibres Futures Fund will invest in a project to assess the viability of larger scale production of spirulina in New Zealand.

 

Lely offerings for the future

Dutch robotic specialist Lely launched a new farm management application called Horizon at its recent Future Farm Days 2020.

Goat farming on the rise

Dairy goat milk processors, looking to increase their supplier numbers, are helping to drive interest among farmers in New Zealand’s growing goat milk industry.

National

Dispelling wool's myths

Paul Alston believes that when comparing wool and synthetic carpets, wool wins every time.

Machinery & Products

Weeds in for a shock

WIith an increasing focus on reducing chemical herbicides, largely because of crop resistance and a potential build-up of residues, new…

V8 - a baler with a grunt

Following three years of testing with clients worldwide, Ireland-based manufacturer McHale has added a bigger model to its range of…

Virtual CV valuable tool

With a 12-year history of recruiting specialised operators from overseas to service the agricultural contracting industry, Hanzon Jobs typically brings…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Tough gig!

OPINION: This old mutt has a fair amount of sympathy for Ag Minister Damien O’Connor with the two associate ministers…

Cow killer

OPINION: The Hound was not surprised to hear well-known end-of-the-world doom-merchant ‘Dr’ Mike Joy is still as joyless as ever…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter