Cows love the anti-slip surface!
Everyone knows the feeling of walking on a slippery floor, having to walk especially careful so that we don’t fall. And falling on these floors is definitely not fun. All farmers deeply care about their animals, and dairy farmers are no different. Continue reading
Cow comfort is one of the leading design features of modern dairy barn construction and farm management. Ensuring that cows are optimizing their feed intake, maximizing laying time, reducing injury and infections, and ultimately producing large amounts of quality milk to sustain the farm is on every farmer’s mind. One of the major areas of focus for making cows comfortable is in the stall, particularly what she is laying on. It seems like everyone has an opinion on this – sand is the best, mattresses are easier to maintain, don’t forget about waterbeds, and how the heck do you dry out manure solids? I’d like throw my hat in the ring, given my 25 years of thinking and innovating on this particular area of the barn. Continue reading
If you’re using sand bedding, you may want to take some additional precautions against mastitis. In a study of mastitis outbreaks on multiple dairy farms, Utah State University researchers found a significant association between recycled bedding and Mycoplasma pathogens.
• The outbreak was due to Mycoplasma pathogens found in stored recycled bedding sand.
• Mycoplasma pathogens reappeared in recycled bedding sand that had been repeatedly culture-negative.
• Mycoplasma pathogens remained viable in recycled sand bedding for up to eight months.
Mycoplasmal infection causes some of the largest milk production losses among all mastitis pathogens. Producers who use sand bedding must be diligent about replacing it. Researchers at Iowa State and Purdue Universities recommend a minimum bedding requirement of 35 lbs. of sand per 1,000 lbs. of animal weight. That’s about 52 lbs. of sand per cow!
A less costly and labor-intensive alternative is to use foam or rubber-filled mattresses like SuperStall. Both are made from inorganic materials which do not support bacteria growth. Unlike sand bedding, SuperStall is easy to maintain and clean. And their lightweight construction is more appealing than handling 52 lbs. of sand per cow.
Have you struggled with a Mycoplasma mastitis problem in your dairy? Was bedding the cause?