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What do truck and bus washrooms have in common with agricultural cow brushes?

In fact, more than you would expect! With his eyes fixed on the new "Declaration on animal welfare minimum requirements for keeping cattle", Carsten Papuga, with a little help from, among other things, a clever hoof trimmer, initiates a need to rethink the usual cow brushes. According to the forthcoming executive order, from 1 July 2022 all herds must have at least one rotating cow brush per 50 cows. Which meant that quite a few farmers had to go out and invest in new, and more, brushes. There was therefore a gap in the market.

But how do you go about it when you have never had anything to do with agriculture and you want to throw yourself into the production of cow brushes? You get in touch with a skilled farmer who wants to be involved in the development of what should eventually become some of the best cow brushes on the market.

Lykkesholm, Fjelsted

On Funen near Fjelsted, not far from the motorway, is 'Lykkesholm'. Despite the short distance to the motorway network, the farm is scenic and surrounded by forest and fields. 'Lykkesholm' is run by farmer Torben Hansen and his wife, Pia, as a conventional farm with 200 Jersey cows plus related breeding. In addition to the couple themselves, four people work on the property. The team consists of the couple's son, Rasmus, two employees employed in flex jobs who have been on the property for 15 and 16 years respectively, and a part-time calf sitter. Milking is done on the property with robots, and 248 ha are also farmed this year.

Car wash facilities, hoof trimmers and conscience

Kvia, as the company is now called, has not always produced cow brushes. It all started in 1981, when the focus area was truck and bus washing facilities. So it was about brushes, they just weren't for cows. When several companies associated with agriculture began to focus on the new "Declaration on minimum animal welfare requirements for keeping cattle", where skin care of dairy cattle plays a significant role, in 2014 Carsten Papuga, at the request of several people within agriculture, began the development of a new type of cow brush.

One hoof trimmer in particular was instrumental in getting the development of the cow brush started, and it was through him that Carsten Papuga got in touch with Torben Hansen on Funen. After a visit to the farm, where he could inquire about what a cow brush should be able to do and how it would be most optimal, Carsten Papuga went home and came up with the plans. Torben Hansen had just one condition for the development of the new type of cow brush: it also had to be able to turn the opposite way. He had experienced several times, when visiting other farms, that a cow brush could take off a tail if it was long: "And I couldn't quite live with that!".

After a while, Torben Hansen and his wife were invited up to the workshop where the prototype of the first cow brush had been made: "It looked fantastic, but we were a little doubtful. Whether it could also last, but he guaranteed that it could. And then I said: 'Well, then there's nothing else to do but hang it up in the stable'."

But it turned out that the pipe used was not strong enough. The tube was therefore changed to a profile tube, which is also what is used today: "And in any case, I have not had a single cow brush that has fallen down with that tube on it".

A really nice cow brush!

A cow brush's primary task is to perform skin care on the cows. And according to Torben Hansen, this is also the impression he gets that the cow brushes from Kvia do. But for a cow brush to be absolutely optimal, it must be a brush that can last, one that is easy to maintain and therefore not one that farmers have to clean and service every month – they have plenty of other things to do to!

"Well, I think that what we have today, especially the one we are standing by, is a really nice cow brush. And when both the cows and I like it, the cow brush, then we have something that matches well together!”.

The cow brush we are standing by is a 'Molly' brush, which is now three years old, which is not to be seen on it: "I think it will take three more years anyway!". And on the day the brushes need to be changed, the solution is also simple. You just have to loosen a 12 mm bolt at the bottom of the brush, on which the brushes, which are in two parts, fall down, after which two new ones can be put on, and the bolt is screwed on again. According to Torben Hansen, it's something that can be done in half an hour: "That is, from the time we start finding the tools, and then until we've rinsed it all off again. Then it's changed. But the process itself, when we stand here, we can do that in 5 minutes".