Summary and Implications
The current field study was conducted to evaluate six different free stall surface options and their impact on stall usage and comfort, bedding usage, animal cleanliness and health, and economics. Results showed significantly different stall usages with different stall surfaces and a significant stall surface by week or season interaction. Sand stalls showed significantly higher usage in summer, followed by sand stall with sand traps, Pasture and Agromatic mattresses, and Dynamat rubber mats, respectively. Sand with Sand Traps and both Pasture Mats showed significantly higher stall usage during the fall and winter weeks (no differences between them) and Dynamat rubber mats showed the lowest usage in all 3 periods. The addition of Sand Traps to the sand stalls significantly reduced sand usage (69%). Greater variation in usage was seen with sand and Dynamats, as compared to the 4 other surfaces. This research substantiates differences in cow preferences for stall surface materials depending on season, temperature, surface hardness, and surface maintenance.
Iowa State University
Thoreson, Dale; Timms, Leo L.; and Lay, Don
"Dairy Free Stall Preference Field Study,"
Animal Industry Report:
AS 652, ASL R2100.
Available at: http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/ans_air/vol652/iss1/33