Floors and especially indoor exercise areas in cattle housing are exposed to high chemical and mechanical stresses. Dung/urine mixtures were analysed to obtain data relating to stresses on exercise area materials. These results, together with information from 52 working farms on the state and animal welfare promotion of exercise area materials, were used as the basis for developing a procedure to determine the durability of mastic asphalt exercise areas in cattle housing. The studies were conducted by Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART Research Station and the Institut für Materialprüfung IFM, D-Rottweil. The newly developed procedure allows the durability of mastic asphalt to be tested and its composition established (initial test). These findings can also be used for the evaluation of other exercise area materials. The results of a comparison of conventional mastic asphalt mixes made it possible to optimise their formulation and surface treatment. The optimised formulation had a positive effect on abrasion, indentation resistance and grip. The chemical resistance, heat stability and animal welfare promotion of mastic asphalt exercise areas can therefore be improved (Fig. 1) with the knowledge newly acquired. A fact sheet «Ausführung von Bodenbelägen aus Gussasphalt für Rinderställe» is available from ART: www.art.admin.ch > Dokumentation > ART-Publikationen im Shop.
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.