The research group on precision livestock farming (part of ILVO’s Agricultural Engineering department) is investigating how an optimal choice of stable materials assists in preventing physical discomfort or injuries such as mastitis or lameness. The mechanical properties of these materials are very important with respect to durability (usable life of the materials), as well as animal comfort and hygiene.
Stable mats and mattresses are frequently used in the cubicles of cattle housing facilities. These materials wear out over time. Loading tests are performed in order to assess the durability of the material under practical conditions. A loading test consists of 5 cycli, totaling 25000 impacts, which corresponds to a useful life of 10 years in practice. The elasticity and (permanent) deformation of the bedding material are evaluated during and after the loading test. The test equipment was thoroughly renewed in 2012.
Veerle Van linden