Trial Results at Kildalton
Features of EASYFIX Rubber Slat Mats
- Rubber is strong for a long life and has a proper balance between softness and resilience.
- Drainage is enhanced due to the unique profile.
- Apply to both new and existing slats.
- Can accommodate nearly all types and sizes 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 installed
- Wedges on the bottom of mats – it’s essential to use the correct size for the slat gap.
- The wedges are pounded between the slat gaps to affix the mat.
Problems with concrete slats
1. After spending more than two months on concrete slats, cattle on tend to become stiff and get swollen joints. This reduces the animal’s activity, weight gain and also makes them more uncomfortable.
This picture illustrates a young bull with a swollen knee joint.
2. Cattle on concrete slats swayed from side to side while standing. The cattle have pain and discomfort on the concrete slats from standing or lying down for long periods of time.
This picture shows a young bull on the concrete slats struggling to get to his feet. Him having sore knee joints he tries to get up by rising after going to his flanks first to make it easier.
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 companions on bare concrete slats.
- Friesians on EASYFIX rubber slat-mats were 0.6 of a dirt score category less than their companions on bare concrete slats.
- Continental cattle gained an additional 0.29 lbs. live weight extra every day on EASYFX rubber slat mats.
- Friesians cattle gained an additional 0.33 lbs. live weight extra every day on EASYFIX rubber slat mats.
Pen Weight Averages
- Continental cattle on EASYFIX Slat Rubber -mats weighed 31.3 lbs. heavier than their companions on bare concrete slats.
- Friesian cattle on EASYFIX Slat Rubber -mats weighed 22.27 lbs. heavier than their companions on bare concrete slats.
- Rubber slat- mats have approximately three times more traction than the concrete slat.
- Grooves and tiny perforations along with grooves on the slat-mat improve the traction for the animals while walking and standing and laying down.
Additional traction gives the animals more confidence. It more closely resembles the natural outside environment.2. A sign that they are confident in the grip, would be if they are often seen to be licking or “grooming” themselves as illustrated by this picture.
Comparison of cattle’s stride on the concrete slat and the EASYFIXTM slat-rubber showed the following results
- on EASYFIX Slat Rubber -mat the stride is 30 3/4”,
- on slats the stride is 22”,
- on pasture the stride is 31 1/2”.
- The slat void area is smaller by 2.9%
- A narrower void areas on the mats provides for 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 has a slight gradient. Because of the slight slope on the EASYIFX mats the feces and urine drain away better and keep 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.