Precast concrete manufacturer Moore Concrete will have a major presence at this year’s Balmoral Show. A key focus for the company will be the profiling of its innovative Surefoot™ slat range.
An independent report, recently compiled by renowned consultant veterinarian Owen Atkinson, has confirmed the numerous dairy cow health benefits that can be directly attributed to the unique slat range. These, in turn, can deliver financial benefits to dairy farmers in the order of £55 per cow, year – across a typical herd.
The work carried out entailed the completion of surveys by Atkinson, who is the owner of Dairy Veterinary Consultancy Ltd, involving 19 dairy farmers at different locations throughout the UK.
The report builds on previous findings, which confirmed that Surefoot™ has 50% more grip than conventional concrete slats; Surefoot™ has a durable finish and abrasion resistance which is likely to last their lifetime and cows walk more confidently on Surefoot™ slats compared with brush finished slats and textured/grooved solid concrete. Moreover, the Surefoot™ surface does not damage cows’ feet through excessive wear.
Surefoot™ slats are manufactured with a textured finish on the walking surface.
Atkinson’s new report specifically confirms that cows housed on Surefoot™ slats walk with greater confidence than other walking surfaces, including rubber floors, solid concrete floors, rubber-surfaced slats and conventional brush finished slats.
The evidence for this comes from measurements of stride lengths and gait analyses of cows on the different walking surfaces, as well as a detailed farmer survey involving 19 herds and over 2000 cows housed on Surefoot™ slats.
Commenting on the report Atkinson said that there is sound evidence from the survey that cows housed on Surefoot™ slats have improved health and welfare in the form of less slips, better foot health and better oestrus activity and added:
“The most tangible health and welfare benefit is reduced slips and injuries, some of which would likely result in premature culling as a casualty animal.
“There is a seven-fold reduction in culls due to slipping for cows housed on Surefoot slats. This is likely to be worth approximately £25 per cow per year to most herds.
“The majority of farmers reported improvements in fertility and lameness for their herds housed on Surefoot slats.
“Quantifying the likely economic value of fertility and lameness improvements is more difficult. However, realistic estimated economic benefits are around £16/cow/year for improved fertility due to better bulling activity, and around £12/cow/year due to less lameness incidences, in a typical herd.”
The report shows that, overall, the likely economic benefits for cows housed on Surefoot™ slats will be in the region of £55 per cow per year, for a typical herd. Significantly, 100% of farmers in the survey reported that the frequency of slips and skidding on Surefoot™ slats was lower than on other walking surfaces.
Qualitative feedback from farmers housing cows on Surefoot™ slats indicated that their cows were “happier”, there was “less bullying” and that “cows display more natural behaviour”.
Atkinson also points to the opportunity for better education around the expected cleanliness of Surefoot slats, particularly with regard to a thin covering of dung fibre. This should be considered normal and not detrimental to cow hygiene.
Commenting on the significance of the report, Moore Concrete managing director Wilbert Moore said that its conclusions fully endorse the envisaged impact of the unique, cow-friendly characteristics that had been specifically built into the Surefoot™ design criteria.
“We went back to basics and came up with a slat design which put the needs of cows first,” he explained.
“And I am delighted that the work undertaken by Owen Atkinson has confirmed that taking this approach has allowed us to deliver a flooring solution that meets this requirement in full while, at the same time, putting real money back into farmers’ pockets.”
For further information, contact Moore Concrete on (028) 2565 2566.