Stall wetness

953

Source: Dairy Farmers of Ontario

Objective: Measure wetness of stall bedding

Where: In freestalls and tiestalls measure the same stalls used in the in-barn checklist

When: During the in-barn checklist

What you need:

• One technician

• 24 Bounty® paper towels folded in four

• Stall bedding wetness data recording sheet

Background:

Research into cow comfort has shown that dry bedding is important to cows. Wet bedding reduces lying time more than any other feature of stall design. Maintaining clean and dry stalls will improve cow comfort and therefore lying time, keep cows cleaner with cleaner udders and reduce the rate of environmental mastitis.

Protocol:

1. Prior to departing for the farm, fold 24 sheets of bounty paper towel into four. Place all towels in a large ziplock bag (24 sheets is sufficient for 12 stalls, however, you may not use all of them).

2. Wear a pair of waterproof trousers over your coveralls or tie a place bag around your knee. Dry the surface of your knee between measures.

3. During the in-barn checklist (Q115), measure stall wetness on each of the stalls in which you record all 9 stall dimensions (minimum of 6 per farm).

4. Stall wetness will be done twice per stall using two sheets of Bounty®

5. Place 1st towel in the centre of the stall, one towel width (27.9cm) from the edge of the curb (Fig 1). Ensure that the towel is not being placed onto a cow pattie.

6. Using one knee, kneel onto the towel for 3 seconds. Count 1, 1000, 2, 1000, 3, 1000 or use a watch. Immediately stand and lift the towel.

7. Open the towel and assign a score using the scoring chart (Fig 2, Table 1 & 2).

8. Report the score in the stall bedding wetness data recording sheet.

9. Place the 2nd towel in the centre of the stall, two towel widths (55.8cm) from the edge of the curb and repeat step 3 – 6 above.

10. For each stall, take the wettest score and assign a final score (dry, wet or very wet) to each stall (Table 2) in the data recording sheet (Table 3).

11. Once you have finished scoring all of the stalls, sum the total number of stalls scored Dry, Wet or Very Wet (Table 4).

12. Divide the sum of each score by the total number of stalls scored and multiply by 100 to calculate the percentage of stalls for each score (dry, wet, very wet).

13. Go back to Q115 in the in-barn checklist, choose the answer according to what represents 50 % or more of the stalls.

FIGURE 1. EXAMPLE OF TOWEL LOCATION AT REAR OF STALL

FIGURE 2. PAPER TOWEL SCORING SYSTEM.

TABLE 1. GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PAPER TOWEL SCORING SYSTEM

TABLE 2. DEFINITIONS

TABLE 3. EXAMPLE STALL WETNESS DATA RECORDING SHEET

TABLE 4. STALL BEDDING WETNESS ASSESSMENT CHART