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Consistency and reliability are key in business – Graeme Parker, The Hoof GP
Graeme Parker is a hoof trimmer living and working in South West Scotland. He’s been involved with agriculture his entire life. Graeme trims around 16k – 17k cattle per year.
‘I want to use the best tools in the business so that I can complete my service to the best of my abilities.’
The world of agriculture right now is a very different place to what it was only a few years ago – standards are pushing the boundaries all the time, professionalism is becoming more and more important and the hunger for educational content and higher standards within the entire industry is only increasing. All of these things are only good things, but it means that as professional cattle hoof trimmers we need to be at the very top of our game. There is absolutely no place for incompetence within this line of work and that means every tool within our arsenal needs to be the very BEST tool possible if we are to give our customers the very best possible service.
When I started out I came directly from the customer service industry and I had a really specific way I wanted to go about my business in order to build it to its maximum potential. I wanted to place myself right in the middle of the field cost wise, in other words I didn’t want to be cheaper than anybody and I definitely didn’t want to be any more expensive than any of my competitors – I felt, and still do feel, that if I charged the right price and gave the absolute best possible service in every area of my field of work then there would be no reason for any of my new customers to ever become ex-customers. I’ve built my business through repeat custom and until this day all of the farmers that I started out trimming for within that first year … I still trim for.
Consistency and reliability are key in business
Just like most of the people reading this article I’ve tried countless knives and tube upon tube of different types of glue, all claiming to be the best out there. My stepfather was a hoof trimmer for 27 years before me and in his later years he used Bovi-Bond glue from Vettec – in his own words it was a “revelation”. So naturally when I started out my own I also used Bovi-Bond, but unlike Davy – my stepfather – I switched from one glue to the other, to the next, to the next, in search of the perfect glue. I now use nothing but Bovi-Bond. For me consistency and reliability are key attributes to anything I use in business. Every Bovi-Bond tube is the same, every dispersal of the glue is the same. To be completely honest and candid, I can’t be bothered waiting for endless amounts of time on lesser glues setting, only to then have them maybe stay on or maybe fall off. Consistently using Bovi-Bond has led to a big sigh of relief because I no longer have to think about which glue am I going to try next. I know my glue works, I have complete faith in it and I don’t have to worry about customers complaining when the blocks fall off.
Obviously I work with Vettec quite closely now. Vettec is a brand by Kerckhaert who also produce fantastic tools and equipment for farriers. They are a company who are very forward thinking, innovative and they’re desperate to make sure everything they produce and design exceeds their competitors. So when they asked me to help them design a new range of knives specifically for cattle hoof trimmers I jumped at the opportunity with both feet. In the past I’ve had knives which I’ve liked, but to be completely honest I’ve never truly liked them until a month or so after I’ve bought them and sharpened them… and sharpened them and resharpened them until eventually they become razor like. Eventually they become the knife that you look for when you’ve got a difficult hoof to trim. This new range of knives ARE that knife that you look for when you’ve got a difficult case, these knives ARE the knife that you wish you always had in your hand – but as with everything that Vettec does, they are improved in almost every way.
The new Bovi-Bond knife is a real game changer
The handles are ergonomically designed to fit in the palm of your hand no matter what way you hold them. The material used in their design is antimicrobial, meaning that bacteria cannot become ingrained within the material as it is designed from the same plastic as used in a child’s toy, killing bacteria after being forced into a toddlers mouth. Every blade, whether it be on a double edged knife, a left-handed knife or a right-handed knife is pre-ground with serious precision. This is not a knife you take out of the package and find yourself sharpening! I love the versatility of a double edged blade on my hoof knife. However, most double edged knives are often designed as a single bladed knife and then manufactured to work as a double bladed knife. The new Bovi-Bond double edge knife is designed from the outset the way it was intended to be. Both blade edges are identical. It’s a straight knife with a nice curvature to it, the handle has a spur on it so that you know exactly where your hand is in relation to the blade of the knife. This means there can be no slips or unintentional poor grip of the knife. Every knife has a magnet embedded within the handle so the knives can be stored safely on any magnetic surface whether that be a trailer, a crush, a gate or a panel. This new Bovi-Bond knife is a game changer, they give you versatility, durability and the ability to slice through hoof horn like never before.
Like I said before – I want to use the best tools in the business so that I can complete my service to the best of my abilities, get through the cows and know that my customers have real confidence in me.