JOURNAL ARTICLE

Factors affecting stall use for different freestall bases

A M Wagner-Storch, R W Palmer, D W Kammel
Journal of Dairy Science 2003, 86 (6): 2253-66
12836963
The objective of this study was to compare stall use (stall occupancy and cow position) by barn side for factors affecting stall use. A closed circuit television system recorded stall use four times per day for a 9-mo period starting May 9, 2001. Six factors were analyzed: stall base, distance to water, stall location within stall base section, stall location within barn, inside barn temperature, and length of time cows were exposed to stall bases. Two barn sides with different stocking densities were analyzed: low (66%), with cows milked by robotic milker; and high (100%), with cows milked 2X in parlor. Six stall base types were tested: two mattresses, a waterbed, a rubber mat, concrete, and sand (high side only). The base types were grouped 3 to 7 stalls/section and randomly placed in each row. Cows spent more time in mattress-based stalls, but the highest percentage lying was in sand-based stalls. The following significant stall occupancy percentages were found: sand had the highest percentage of cows lying on the high stocking density side (69%), followed by mattress type 1 (65%) > mattress type 2 (57%) > waterbed (45%) > rubber mat (33%) > concrete (23%). Mattress type 1 had the highest percentage stalls occupied (88%), followed by mattress type 2 (84%) > sand (79%) > soft rubber mat (65%) > waterbed (62%) > concrete (39%). On the low stocking rate side, mattress type 1 had the highest percentage cows lying (45%) and occupied (59.6%), followed by mattress type 2 > waterbed > soft rubber mat > concrete. Cow lying and stalls occupied percentages were highest for stalls 1) not at the end of a section, and 2) on the outside row, and varied by base type for time cows exposed to stalls and inside barn temperature. Lying and occupied percentages were different for different mattress types. The percentage of stalls with cows standing was higher for mat and mattress-based stalls. Results show mattress type 1 and sand to be superior and rubber mats and concrete inferior stall bases.

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