Did you know that ensuring the surfaces around your dairy shed are comfortable and non-slip is one of the best ways to increase cow confidence and reduce the risk of injuries?
The Numat team recently spent the day with experienced Vet and lameness expert, Neil Chesterton, learning more about the many different factors around NZ dairy farms that can contribute to high rates of hoof injuries and lameness.
“Pressured or stressed cows are more likely to stand on sharp stones and hurt themselves.”
Neil Chesterton, Experienced Vet & NZ Lameness Expert
Neil pointed out that in his experience the first thing to look at was your cow’s behaviour. If they feel pressured or afraid then they are much more likely to injure themselves.
How to tell if your cows feel pressured or afraid
Cows are prey animals and there are several things that are likely to make them afraid such as:
- Loud noises (whistling, banging or shouting).
- Being unable to see things in their blind spots or in the dark.
- Riding too close behind the herd on the way to the shed.
- Slippery surfaces that they might hurt themselves on.
The signs of pressure are:
- Not following (bunching).
- Sideways touching, cows like space between each other.
- Lower dominance cows having to reverse to escape.
- Heads up, cows need their head down to see where to place a front foot safely.
Cows that are pressured or afraid are more likely to stand on sharp stones or slip and injure themselves on the way to the shed.
Top 4 Risk Factors of Hoof Injuries
- Pressured or stressed cows are more likely to stand on sharp stones and hurt themselves.
- Tracks that have sharp stones, mud or holes.
- Slippery, stony or cramped yards.
- Uneven surfaces, steep ramps and long distances to milking sheds.
Comfortable non-slip surfaces to walk on
Ensuring the surfaces around your dairy shed are comfortable and non-slip is one of the best ways to increase cow confidence and reduce the risk of injuries. A sure-footed cow is a safe and healthy one.
Have you noticed, when your lane starts getting bony or slushy, your cows start slowing down and doing their business – making it even worse? This in-turn brings more stones on to your yard.
Numat have a range of matting solutions to cover the entire journey through the milking process. With surfacing for the lane, yard, rotary and herringbone platforms, entry and exit areas the modern New Zealand farmer can significantly improve cow flow and reduce the amount of slipping and lameness. Pit surfacing for worker health and safety is also proving popular – which greatly helps overall calmness in the milking parlour too.
Rubber matting improves grip for cows
Rubber matting can improve alley flooring and diary shed comfort and grip. There are a lot of different rubber floors on the market today, with different thicknesses and designs. A thickness of at least 10 mm of rubber mat is needed to produce a floor that minimises the risk of slipping.
If your concrete surfaces are getting old and slippery then installing rubber matting is an effective and economical way to reduce the risk of injuries in your herd and extend the life of your concrete surfaces.