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.
Stable climate has an important impact on the respiratory health of horses. In a study on indoor climate quality, three different ventilation systems were tested.
Although milk-production oriented (MPO) cow breeds have also become established in the mountain region, farms with the dual-purpose ‘Original Simmental’ breed are proving to be economically viable, with lower costs and higher direct payments making up for lower revenues from milk.
High milk yields before drying-off increase the risk of udder infections during the dry period. An online survey highlights what drying-off methods are currently used and how farmers rate the ‘incomplete milking’ approach for reducing milk yield.