The first soft, deformable lying mats used in cubicle housing systems are now around ten years old. The effect of the age of the mats on cows’ joint health was investigated on the basis of surveys of hock-joint lesions. The surveys took place on working farms whose mats had been in use for between eight and ten years. The results from the lesion surveys were contrasted with the results of an investigation that had taken place about seven years previously on the same farms. The comparison of the incidence of lesions in the various categories showed no significant differences, although a tendency towards more lesions and those of greater severity was noted.
Pontiggia A., Münger A., Ammer S., Philipona C., Bruckmaier R. M., Keil N.M., Dohme-Meier F.
Even in temperate climate zones, an increase in the ambient temperature and solar radiation can cause heat stress in grazing dairy cows. Agroscope studied the physiological changes in cows caused by increasing heat load.
Lazzari G., Münger A., Heimo D., Seifert S., Camarinha-Silva A., Borda-Molina D., Zähner M., Schrade S., Kreuzer M., Dohme-Meier F.
In dairy cows, herbage-based diets often lead to increased nitrogen excretion. Tanniferous sainfoin and extract of acacia can reduce nitrogen excretion from urine and thus ammonia volatilization from slurry.
Excessive nitrogen inputs from the air lead to over-fertilisation of sensitive ecosystems. Continuous feeding optimisation can make an important contribution to reducing ammonia losses and thus nitrogen inputs.