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.
Which stakeholders in the dairy sector have an influence on the productive life of dairy cows? Research results from FiBL and Agroscope suggest that broad-based cooperation is needed to create structures for a longer productive life.
Agriculture is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions. Agroscope showed that for dairy cattle housing, feed composition plays a role in these emissions as well as wind and temperature.
Lazzari G., Münger A., Eggerschwiler L., Borda-Molina D., Seifert J., Camarinha-Silva A., Schrade S., Zähner M., Zeyer K., Kreuzer M., Dohme-Meier F.
Tannin-containing feedstuffs like Acacia mearnsii and sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) have a measurable impact in reducing methane emissions from dairy cows. However, since these feedstuffs in some cases lead to productivity losses, careful consideration must be given to their use.