Rubber Flooring Makes for Confident Cows

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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

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Cow Comfort: Increasing animal health and production with memory foam mattresses

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Don’t you love coming home after a long day and laying down in your nice soft bed? Well just like humans, cows do too! According to a study done by W. K. Fulwider and R. W. Palmer in 2004 on impact testing to predict cow preference, the most important factor that determines cow preference is the softness of the mattress; and when given a choice cows will lay down on the softest material or mattress that’s available. Continue reading

Success at World Dairy Expo 2014!

“NoIMG_1456 (1024x682)w that’s a good idea” was the most satisfying response we received from dairymen when we described the NBF Calving Pen System. Interest in the Calving Pen System wildly exceeded our expectations and it seems we have hit a cord with dairymen across the country looking for a solution to one of the major hand work efforts in the barn. Continue reading

Mattresses or Sand: Which supports your business (and your cows) better?

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

Where it all begins: solutions to keeping a clean calving pen

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No matter what type of bedding or how good a manager you are, the area in the barn that causes the most headaches might be in the calving area. This area is usually a large, open space with crowd gate dividers for separating soon-to-be mothers where managers rely on a heavy pack of straw and other organic bedding materials to keep the area clean and cows comfortable – just like in the “olden” days. Continue reading

Sand Bedding and Mycoplasma Mastitis

Mycoplasma Mastitis and Sand BeddingIf 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?

Greetings from World Dairy Expo!

Peter and Carolyn Kyle of North Brook FarmsCarolyn and I are at World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI this week! If you’re at the show, stop by and say hi! We’re ready to answer your questions about our SuperStall™ Memory Foam Mattress System, our new Plastic Plywood and other great sustainable North Brook Farms products!

Welcome to Peter’s Mat Chat.

Peter Kyle of North Brook Cow Comfort SystemsI’m Peter Kyle, co-owner of North Brook Farms along with my lovely wife, Carolyn. We’ve been married for 30 years, and in the cow bedding business for about 25 (you can read our story here).

As Carolyn and I travel from farm show to farm show, we tend to hear the same questions over and over:  How do cow mattresses compare to sand? How do they compare to water beds? How long do they last? Which makes for a better cow bed — rubber or foam? Dairy producers want to know!

We’ve tried to answer some of the most common cow comfort questions on our website, but I’m sure you have others. Feel free to contact me and I’ll try to address them in this blog. We’ll also talk about some of your biggest challenges in cow bedding and maintenance, share success stories and provide a forum for producers, veterinarians and anyone else who takes cow comfort seriously.

Let’s chat!