Abstract #90

# 90
Investigation of a new anti-slip flooring technology to address slips and falls by dairy cows.
Nancy Franco-Gendron*1, Renée Bergeron1, Walt Curilla2, Sabine Conte3, Trevor J. DeVries4, Elsa Vasseur1, 1Organic Dairy Research Center, University of Guelph, Alfred Campus, Alfred, Ontario, Canada, 2AB Silikal Hygienic Floors, Diamond Hard Surfaces Inc, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 3Centre de Recherche et de Développement sur le Bovin Laitier et le Porc, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada, 4Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, Kemptville Campus, Kemptville, Ontario, Canada.

Freestall dairy facilities are known to have issues with slips and falls by cows caused by the combination of smooth flooring and manure slurry. Eighteen Holstein dairy cows (parity 1 to 6) selected to maximize gait range were evaluated on various flooring types to test the hypothesis that flooring with greater anti-slip properties will improve cattle’s ease of movement. Cows were trained and randomly assigned to walk on 6 flooring types covered with thin coat of manure 3x/wk for 6 wks; 2 controls: rubber mat (Animat), traction milled concrete (Agri-Trac), and 4 different coated treatments: Red (Silikal 0.7–1.2 mm quartz with 1 seal coat), Green (Silikal 0.7–1.2 mm, 2 seal coats), Yellow (Silikal 0.4–0.8 mm, 1 seal coat) and Orange (Silikal 0.4–0.8 mm, 2 seal coats). Cows were filmed walking a straight corridor and a corridor with a turn (5 passages/corridor). Cows had 2 accelerometers on their rear legs to measure the average acceleration of a passage. Reflective markers were placed on both right hooves before walking the straight corridor measuring stride length, foot height, swing and stance time via kinematics. Steps taken, passage time and time/steps were recorded for the curved corridor. Stride for cows on the straight corridor was longer for rubber (1.54 ± 0.026 m; mean ± SE) compared with all other treatments: 1.44 ± 0.041 m for Red (Wilcoxon sign rank test: S = 54; P = 0.003), 1.38 ± 0.027 m for Green (S = 68; P < 0.0001), 1.48 ± 0.031 m for Yellow (S = 43; P = 0.02), and 1.46 ± 0.033 m for Orange (S = 47; P = 0.01). Stride of cows walking on the straight corridor was shorter on groove concrete (1.41 ± 0.034 m) compared with Yellow (S = −52; P = 0.02), but no differences were found with the other treatments. The time taken per step for cows on the curve corridor was not different between flooring (Kruskal-Wallis test: X2 = 0.9; P > 0.1). In conclusion, longer strides or faster pace reflects cow ease of movement on a particular flooring type. Based on these 2 variables, cow ease of movement was greater on rubber versus coating treatments, but was better on the Yellow treatment compared to concrete. Other aspects of ease of movement like acceleration or gait need to corroborate these first findings.

Key Words: dairy cows, welfare, flooring