Moore Concrete offer a comprehensive range of precast products for housing livestock which has been developed since the late 1970's. This range includes slats, cubicle bases, cubicle end walls, support beams & passage covers.
The benefits of slatted housing
Precast concrete slatted systems have been used for many decades as an effective means of housing cattle and other livestock. They were initially attractive to livestock farmers in areas where straw was not plentiful. Given that the dung and urine dropped into the tank below the cattle, the resulting slurry could be easily pumped into tankers and then spread onto land using either umbilical or tanker-based systems. The end result is a fully mechanised manure handling system
From a development point of view, the initial focus was placed on the production of single slats. However, this has since been superseded by the manufacture of purpose-designed gang slats with bespoke specifications fpr the various categories of livestock.
More recently, suspended flooring systems have become more popular in areas where bedding straw availability is not an issue. This is because slatted floor housing systems also offer improvements in cleanliness, due to the escape of the dung and urine down into the tank below.
Slatted tanks also come into their own in areas such as collecting yards. IN these instances all the dung and urine falls into the tank below, thereby minimising run-off problems. Farmers throughout the EU are now subject to non-compliance inspections, courtesy of the current CAP regulations. The frequency of these inspections will, invariably, increase as time passes. As a consequence, suspended flooring systems look set to play an even greater role on livestock farms throughout the UK.
From a production point of view, the use of slatted flooring systems offers a number of key benefits. A trial carried out under the control of SAC vets confirmed a higher number of arthritis cases in finishing pigs housed in deep bedded straw compared to those maintained in slatted pens
But by far the biggest plus factor concerning slats is the fact that they can help reduce the incidence of hoof-related problems: slurry heel, digital dermatitis – within modern milk production systems – as they allow the slurry to drop away from the stock above at all times.
Another benefit of slatted floors is the fact that they are manufactured to a very high standard. This means that they will have a very long, repair-free life.
Myths - Significant numbers of people have some pre-conceived ideas about slats. For example, beef cattle do not perform as well on slats as they might do on straw courts. Significantly, research carried out at AFBI Hillsborough in 1997 confirmed that floor type had no significant effect on animal performance or meat quality parameters when cattle were housed over winter following a summer at pasture. Therefore there is no additional return to farmers in terms of higher performance from using straw-bedded systems. The same project also made it clear that floor type has a small effect on the incidence of damage to feet. The hind feet of cattle on slats exhibited more damage than those on straw or rubber strips or mats, while cattle on straw exhibited greater damage in their forefeet than those on the other floor types.
There is also no truth in the rumour that slatted floors attract flies: in fact the opposite is the case.
There is also a belief that finishing beef cattle will always be cleaner if kept on straw. However, the reality is that a well-managed slatted system can produce cleaner cattle than a poorly managed straw yard.
Overview - It goes without saying that areas where slurry can pool in any system must be routinely scraped to avoid a build-up of muck and the infections which can thrive in slurry.
Slat type and shape play an important role in cow comfort and effectiveness of slurry removal. Slats must have solid, smooth edges and the width of slat and therefore the size of the gap between slats must provide adequate support for the cow's foot while at the same time ensuring that slurry and muck can fall easily through.
At Moore Concrete our recommendations for slats for dairy cows are for a slat width of 140-160mm and spacing between slats of 35-40mm.
Significantly, research has shown that the nature of the floor surface will affect the degree of sure-footedness that an animal feels when either standing or walking on slat. This challenge has always been recognised by Moore Concrete: hence the development of our new non-slip slat design!