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 claw disease or lameness. The mechanical properties of these materials such as the durability (lifetime) and type of wearing have an important impact on discomfort and injuries.
Stable flooring in cattle housing facilities wears out over time. The useful life of flooring material mainly depends on the material properties and the interaction with the cow's hoofs. ILVO has built an automated and equipped artificial hoof to perform loading tests on flooring materials used in stables. A loading test consists of 5 cycli, totaling 25000 strokes, which corresponds to a useful life of 10 years in practice. The deformation of the flooring material is evaluated during and after the loading test by means of laser profiling.
Veerle Van linden