Waikato farmer David Lord says the AgriMat premium feed-pad matting he installed at his 530
cow dairy unit last April has resulted in a huge reduction in lame cow numbers.
In 2008 he increased the size of his farm, put in a mixer wagon, and was often feeding the cows twice a day on the existing concrete feed pad.
With the increased walking, and amount of time the cows spent standing on the concrete, lameness became a real issue.
“Since I installed the rubber matting last year we’ve had our first summer without having to run a lame cow mob at all.”
David put a full roof over his 1000 square metre feed pad and installed a green water flood wash system at the same time the matting was laid.
“This has created the ultimate feed pad and stand-off pad – all contained in the one system,” he says.
David runs an intensive 135 ha operation, with the feed pad used daily throughout the year. With a high stocking rate of around four cows per hectare David regularly stands the herd on the feed pad to preserve pasture and minimise mud.
“Before we put the matting down we had to virtually force the cows to stand off on the concrete feed’ pad or concrete yard. Now they seem quite happy to leave the paddock to stand on the soft rubber matting. It is so much kinder, and more comfortable for the cows. They are far less stressed.”
The AgrimMat system has also alleviated leg stiffness in the cows, he says.
“We were becoming quite concerned with the animal welfare issue of our cows hobbling back to their paddock with stiff legs after standing off on the concrete. This was also not a good look for our many lifestyler neighbours. The rubber matting has solved this problem.”
Better hygiene and animal health are some of the other benefits of the product.
The non-porous, vulcanised surface of the matting means it is super-quick and easy to clean with a simple hose-down, saving around half the water required to clean a concrete pad.
Testing has shown the rubber surface also has a lower microbial count than concrete, reducing hoof infections.
With healthier, calmer, and more mobile cows, gains in milk production are inevitable.
David provided his own labour to put down the AgriMat Kura Edge matting under the supervision of a Numat installer.
The 24mm thick matting comes in interlocking sheets sized 1190 ml x 210 mm. They are secured with 80mm stainless steel anchor bolts and come with a unique interlocking edging system that creates a tidy, straight edge finish.
The product has an expected life span of more than ten years and comes with a five year
guarantee on wear and tear.
After intensive use for over a year, David says his feed pad matting has stood up well, with no sign of wear.
The AgriMat premium cow matting typically costs around five to ten percent of the total cost to
construct a feed pad.
David says he has no regrets about making the investment.
“The matting is everything I hoped it would be. I’m extremely happy with it