Trial Results on EASYFIX Slat Rubber at Kildalton
Features of EASYFIX Rubber Slat Mats
- Rubber is tough and long lasting with a proper balance between softness and resilience.
- Its unique profile enhances drainage from the slatted floor.
- They can be applied to new and used slats.
- Slat mats pieces are designed to fit all makes and types of slats.
Mats Insulation Properties
- Metabolisable energy (M.E.) = 80% of the gross energy.
- Net energy (N.E.) = 60% of the gross energy.
- E. – heat increment = N.E.
- E. is used for animal products & maintenance.
- Insulation quality of mats reduces heat loss from the animals, hence increasing N.E. levels
How they are applied
- The slat mats have rubber wedges – using the correct size wedge is essential.
- These wedges fit down into the gaps between the slats.
Problems with concrete slats
1. Cattle on concrete slats tend to be stiff and get swollen joints after spending more than two months on concrete slats. This reduces the bullocks thrive and weight gain and also makes them more uncomfortable and hinders the bullocks ability to get up and down easily.
This picture illustrates a Friesian bullock with a swollen knee joint.
2. Animals on concrete slats swayed from side to side while standing. This was due to them being in pain and discomfort as cattle on the concrete slats either stand up or lie down for long periods of time.
This picture shows a bullock on the concrete slats getting up with difficulty. Due to the animal having sore knee joints he tries to get up by this method of sitting up on his flanks first and then rising.
Previous Research on Slat-Rubber: Dirt Score Results
- Continentals on EASYFIX Slat rubber -mats were 0.3 of a dirt score category less than their comrades on bare slats.
- Friesians on EASYFIX rubber slat-mats were 0.6 of a dirt score category less than their comrades on bare slats.
- Continental cattle gained 0.13kgs live weight extra every day on EASYFX rubber slat mats.
- Friesians cattle gained 0.15kgs live weight extra every day on EASYFIX rubber slat mats.
Average Pen Weights
- Continental cattle on EASYFIX Slat Rubber -mats weighed 14.2kgs heavier than their comrades on bare concrete slats.
- Friesian cattle on EASYFIX Slat Rubber -mats weighed 10.1kgs heavier than their comrades on bare slats.
- Rubber slat- mats have approximately three times more grip than the concrete slat.
- Small bubble-like perforations and grooves on the slat-mat improve the grip for the animals whilst walking and getting up and down.
Extra grip gives the animals more confidence and they act as if outside in their natural environment.2. They are often seen to be licking or “grooming” themselves showing their confidence of their foothold as illustrated by this picture.
Comparison of cattle’s step-length on the concrete slat and the EasyFix slat-rubber gave the following results
- on EASYFIX Slat Rubber Mat is 78 cm,
- on slats is 56 cm,
- on pasture is 80 cm.
- There is a slit void area difference of 2.9%
- Due to narrower void areas on the mats there is a more even distribution of the animal’s weight on their hooves helping to eliminate lameness.
- This smaller void area in the EASYFIX Slat Rubber -mats failed to make the cattle dirtier due to the gradient on the EASYIFX improving drainage of dung and urine and making the cattle cleaner.
Price Difference & Economic Viability
Each Friesian on EASYFIX Slat Rubber mats made on average €37.44 more than their comrades on bare concrete slats.
Are the EASYFIX slat-mats economically viable to the finishing beef farmer?
Price Difference/animal = €37.44/animal
Price Difference/m2 of slat rubber = €17.00/m2
Cost of slat-mats = €55/m2
Number of winters required to earn back investment €55/€17.00 = 3.2
120 day winter
* Economic viability updated based on current prices.
- Animals gained more weight on and were cleaner coming off the EASYFIX Slat Rubber mats.
- No animals got lame or incurred any stress or injury on the EASYFIX Slat Rubber mats.
- Cattle are more confident, livelier and comfortable on the EASYFIX Slat Rubber mats.
- Animals step length is on average 22 cm longer on EASYFIX Slat Rubber mats than bare concrete slats.
- EASYFIX Slat Rubber mats have approximately 3 times more grip than bare slats.
- The cattle on the concrete slats were stiffer, got up less frequently and with difficulty. They lay down & stood up for longer periods at any one time and swayed from side to side while standing.
- It will take 3.2 winters to earn back the EASYFIX Slat Rubber cost, where the length of the winter is 4 months, making them economically viable to the finishing beef farmer.
- 100% natural rubber compound ensuring EASYFIX slat rubber will not lose its shape.