Surefoot™ slip resistant slats have been developed by Moore Concrete to improve animal welfare and productivity within both dairy and beef animals. One of the main welfare concerns particularly amongst dairy farmers is animals having to be culled due to injuries from falls on slippery floors.
The Surefoot™ slat has 50% more grip than conventional concrete slats through its more textured surface resulting in improved health and welfare in the form of less slips, better foot health, better oestrus activity and animals behaving more naturally.
Independent trial work on the Surefoot™ slats undertaken by a number of bodies including Queen’s University Belfast and Dairy Veterinary Consultancy Ltd has been conducted and have found numerous advantages of Surefoot™ including:
The studies found that cows housed on Surefoot™ slats are 7 times less likely to be culled due to slips or injury. The cows also walked more confidently on Surefoot™ slatted floors by taking longer stride lengths than other walking surfaces including rubber floors, solid concrete floors, rubber-surfaced slats and conventional brush finished slats. They also demonstrated caudal locking behaviour which would be displayed if she feels she has very secure footing.
The studies found that cows housed on Surefoot™ slats have a mean calving interval of 393 days which is lower than the UK average of around 410 days.
Farmers who took part in the study found Surefoot™ slats to have a range of advantages in this area including:
On appearance Surefoot™ slats looks to have an abrasive surface, so to eliminate this concern cows feet were lifted and examined on a number of farms where cows had been housed for 8 weeks or more on Surefoot™ slats. None showed abnormal or excessive wear or thin soles.
A considerable number of farmers indicated that lameness has significantly improved since their cows were housed on Surefoot™ slats.
Farmers also reported that toe lengths were not excessive, indicating a good wear to growth balance.
The studies included research on the economic value of Surefoot™ slats taking into account the various benefits. AHDB Dairy and CHAWG figures were used to estimate costs.
- Reduced casualties from slips – £30.96 per cow per year.
- Reduced lameness – £12.37 per cow per year
- Reduced calving interval – £16.50 per cow per year
The cumulative cost benefit of housing cows on Surefoot™ slats is likely to be in the region of £59.83 per cow per year for a typical herd.
This video shows the behavioural time-lapse photography study footage on a herd of 132 cows. The shed was fully slatted, predominantly with Surefoot™ slats, although three 5m x 6m sections close to the robotic milking stations were brush finished slats. The footage shows that the cows prefer to spend more time on the Surefoot™ slats rather than the brushed finished slats.
“We opted for Surefoot slats on the entire walking area of our new building and have nothing but positives since first introducing the cows. There is plenty of grip on the slats. When we released the bull into the shed we did not experience any issues – all went to plan. It would only take one cow to slip or fall to cover the extra cost incurred in opting for Surefoot Slats”
William Galloway, Drumblair Farm, Port William, Wigtownshire
“The cows behave more naturally and walk more confidently with a longer stride length on the Surefoot slats compared to the other slats and scrapped passages in the adjoining sheds. The slats are also not sore on the cow’s feet and the grip remains, even when the slats are dirty. Two bulls run with the cows and are confident to bull them on the slats. The difference in the price of the Surefoot slats would pay in one year, through no cows going down or slippage accidents. There is no drawback with the Surefoot slats and I would definitely use again if doing another job.”
John McFadzean, Adamcroft Farm, Mauchline, Ayrshire
“The cows are more confident walking on the Surefoot slats and are behaving more naturally, with stronger and longer heats. The bull is also bulling the cows on the slats with no issues. We have not had a lame cow all winter, whereas previously we would have. I also recently noticed a cow caudal licking on the slats for the first time. Overall, I am very pleased that I opted for the Surefoot slats”
Gavin Vance, Balnab Farm, Whithorn, Wigtownshire
“I am very happy with the Surefoot slats. The cows are confident walking on them, with no cows slipping and their behaviour seems very natural.”
Matthew Rogerson, Wardpark Farm, Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire
All slats are CE Marked and Manufactured to EN 12737. Moore Concrete slats are designed or load tested by Chartered Structural Engineers in accordance with BS8110; Part 1 and BS5502 Part 22 and 51. Full specification is available in Moore Concrete’s Declaration of Performance.
For full installation and handing guidance on the slats, please refer to Storage and Handling Instructions .