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Effect of Stall Base Type on Herd Health, Costs, and Producer Satisfaction

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Sixth International Dairy Housing Conference Proceeding, 16-18 June 2007, (Minneapolis, Minnesota) (Electronic Only)  701P0507e.(doi:10.13031/2013.22809)
Authors:   W K Fulwider, T Grandin, D J Garrick, T E Engle, N L Dalsted, W D Lamm, B E Rollin
Keywords:   Bedding requirement, maintenance cost, producer satisfaction, stall base

The objective of this field study was to compare effect of stall base on herd health, stall maintenance, bedding cost, and producer satisfaction. Ninety-one dairies visited during a 4-mo period starting October 14, 2005 included 33 rubber-filled mattress (RFM), 27 sand, and 31 waterbed (WB) stall bases. In this study, percent culled was higher for RFM (P = 0.001) and sand (P = 0.06) than WB dairies. Percent of cows in fourth lactation or greater was higher on WB than either RFM (P = 0.01) or sand (P = 0.02) dairies. There was no difference between base types for production or somatic cell count. Bedding cost per bed per week was WB ($0.73), RFM ($0.89), and sand ($0.97). Sand beds were bedded less frequently (P = 0.01). Comparisons between RFM and sand indicate higher satisfaction for RFM regarding manure management (P < 0.0001) and higher satisfaction with sand for cow comfort (P < 0.0001). Producers with WB were more satisfied with base life (P < 0.0001) and cow comfort (P < 0.0001) than those with RFM. Producers with WB were more satisfied with cow longevity (P < 0.0001) as compared to RFM. Length of sand stall was correlated with longevity (0.56, P = 0.01) while percent of mature cows was greater on dairies that provided waterbeds (P = 0.02). This data indicates that WB may be a viable option for cows and producers, when good quality sand is unavailable or handling sand-laden manure is not feasible.

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