Wopa UK Celebrating 40 Years

By Ava Malt

March 1, 2020

From what was started as a “side line “is now a major supplier of hoof care equipment to the UK. 

Humble beginings from a chance meeting at a show in Holland between Ed Malt and Jan Wopereis, which not only became a life long friendship but also a trading partnership which has now progressed to the next generation. 

1980 saw Jan, and his expert hoof trimmer Hank Stamp, come to the UK to do two demonstrations at Peter Padfield’s farm in Essex, and Ed’s own farm in Norfolk. These first demonstrations proved to be very successful not only for Ed to start the business of selling Wopa crushes, but to enlighten the farmers and their staff of the importance of hoof care. This saw the start the welfare of cattle hooves. 

Ed could identify the need for good hoof care through his own dairy herd, and so he became qualified in the Dutch method. His foresight saw him convince the Ministry of Agriculture (not an easy task!) that hoof trimming and hoof welfare should have official training courses, and so the Agricultural Training Board setup courses around the country with Ed as the first qualified trainer to do these. 

The next step saw the advance of hoof trimming contractors. Some of them actually went to Utrecht College for their training and qualification, others gained theirs here in the UK. The Five Step method came about, and that saw a standard for the industry to follow. With the growing numbers of contractors Ed felt that they needed to have an organisation to provide a uniform service and help the future development of cattle hoof welfare, and so with this suggestion to Tony Richardson and Harry Relph (both professional hoof trimmers) the NACFT was born. 

The Wopa crush has come a long way since 1980 and the SA18 farmers model that came over. This progressed to todays SA26. Then to the SA35 which was originally advertised as the contractors model!, to the recent SA49, and the contractors models of today now the SA51, and the latest SA61 which can be on wheels or tracks. From hand winching to electric motors and hydraulics, to remote controls. From on the ground to those with lift systems. From static to mobile on wheels or tracks. The future continues to progress through research and development. 

Ed and Jan have left not only us, but contractors and farmers alike, an amazing legacy of which we are justly proud. 

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