Rubber matting in dairy yards has revolutionized the dairy farming industry by providing a safer, more comfortable environment for dairy cows. These mats reduce injuries and enhance productivity, making them a popular choice amongst modern farmers. Despite their clear advantages, the process of selection and installation can sometimes pose challenges. Let’s take a look at these potential issues and discuss how to prevent them.
1 – The Trouble with Cold Weather Installation
Rubber is a flexible material that contracts when it’s cold and expands in the heat. This means that if you install mats in cold temperatures, they might expand when the mercury rises, leading to uneven surfaces, which can be a tripping hazard.
How to avoid this: Aim to install your mats when the weather is moderate. It’s essential to let the mats adjust to the average yard temperature before you start laying them down. This will allow the mats to expand without causing uneven surfaces later on.
2 – The Downside of Cheap Mats
Choosing cheaper mats may seem like a good idea for your wallet, but these mats often do not interlock well. This could lead to gaps in your matting over time. Furthermore, they might not be as durable, causing them to wear out faster and lead to replacement costs.
How to avoid this: When it comes to rubber matting, quality should always be a priority. It’s wiser to invest in durable, well-designed mats that might cost a bit more upfront but will save you money in the long run because they’ll last longer.
3 – The Consequence of Improper Anchoring
Anchoring is a crucial part of the mat installation process. If mats aren’t anchored properly, they can move and separate at the interlocking edges. This can compromise the safety of your cows and decrease the lifespan of the mats.
How to avoid this: Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines closely. Using professional installation services, such as those offered by NumatAGRI, is also a great option if you’re unsure. The key here is to ensure that the mats are anchored securely, preventing any potential shifting.
4 – The Pitfalls of Using the Wrong Matting Type
All rubber mats are not created equal. Rolled rubber matting, for example, can cause problems as the edges tend to fold up over time. This creates a tripping hazard for your livestock and staff.
How to avoid this: It’s important to choose matting that’s specifically designed for dairy yards. Interlocking, puzzle-style mats, such as NumatAGRI’s Kura mat, are an excellent choice as they lie flat, provide the best traction, and have superior durability.
5 – The Slippery Slope of Choosing the Wrong Grip Pattern
The grip pattern on your matting plays a crucial role in maintaining a safe yard. If you choose the wrong pattern, or worse, no grip at all, you could end up with a yard that’s akin to a skating rink for your cows.
How to avoid this: Choose a mat with a grip pattern that offers adequate traction, especially in wet conditions. However, beware of patterns that are too deep, as they can harbour bacteria and make the cleaning process more difficult.
6 – The Snag of Incorrect Placement Around Drains
Drains are essential for maintaining cleanliness in your yard. However, if mats are placed around drains without proper fitting, they can create gaps. The wheel of a backing gate or a dungbuster can get caught in these gaps, causing operational hitches.
How to avoid this: Companies like NumatAGRI can provide invaluable assistance here. We can custom-cut mats to fit around your drains perfectly, ensuring a smooth and continuous surface. This not only prevents operational snags but also improves overall safety.
7 – The Danger of Damaging Underground Utilities
In many yards, utilities like water and power lines run under the concrete surface. If these lines are close to the surface, you could accidentally damage them when installing anchors for the mats. This could lead to significant repair costs and operational downtime.
How to avoid this: Before you start the installation, be aware of where all underground utilities are located. Place your mats in such a way that the anchors won’t interfere with power and water lines.
Despite these potential issues, with the right knowledge and a bit of planning, installing dairy yard rubber matting can be a straightforward process. Remember, creating a safe and comfortable environment for your cows enhances productivity and the overall success of your dairy farming operation. So, take your time, plan carefully, and make the right choices for your dairy yard. Your cows will thank you for it!
Here at NumatAGRI, our goal is to provide you with the best products that make your work easier and ensure the comfort of your calves. If you need help deciding which mat is right for your calf pens or trailers this season, get in touch. We’re always ready to help you. Until next time, happy farming!