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A quality mark “DLG-APPROVED for single value-determining criteria” is awarded to agricultural products which successfully passed a smaller-scope DLG usability test according to independent and recognized evaluation criteria. The test intends to highlight special innovations and key criteria of the test item. The test can focus on criteria from the DLG testing framework for full tests or on other individual features or qualitative criteria. The minimum requirements, the test conditions and procedures as well as the evaluation guidelines of the test results are determined in consultation with a DLG expert group. They comply with the generally recognized technology rules as well as with scientific and agricultural knowledge and requirements. The successful test concludes with the publishing of a test report and the awarding of a quality mark which is valid for five years following the award date.
The DLG Approved “BTS Cattle1” included joint inspections and behavioural observations during standing up and lying down in three working farms, as well as measurement of deformability on test rigs at the DLG Test Center Technology and Farm Inputs. Data was acquired and analysed in accordance with the “Requirements of the BTS Programme Regarding Deformable Mattresses for Bovine Livestock” (Swiss Ethics Programme Ordinance of 25th June 2008, Annex 3). Other criteria were not investigated.
The New Farms sandbedmat tested here was investigated with regard to comfort characteristics on test rigs in the DLG Appoved Test “BTS Cattle1”. Joint inspections were carried out in three real-life farms, and behavioural observations were made during standing up and lying down. The requirements of the BTS programme regarding deformable mattresses for bovine livestock (Swiss Ethics Programme Ordinance of 25th June 2008, Annex 3) are met.
The Blister sandbedmat tested here, is a system for building a lying area in cubicle barns for cows and cattle.
- Black Rubber sandbedmat with 35 quadratic chambers ca. 20 cm x 20 cm, which are filled with sand. The surface of the sandbedmat should be interspersed with ca. 5 cm straw litter.
- Dimension of the mat: length 154 cm, width 114 cm, high 11 cm
- weight: 50 kg each mat
- Shore A: 75
- The sanbedmat are fixed with 13 screws plus disks and dowel on the anchoring supports on the floor.
Deformability and elasticity
The deformability is measured using ball-indentation tests in new condition and following permanent tread load with a calotte (r = 120 mm) and a penetration force of 2,000 N (corresponding to approx. 200 kg).
Permanent tread load
The permanent tread load is measured on a test rig with a round steel foot with 100,000 alternating loads at 10,000 N (corresponding to approx. 1,000 kg). The steel foot is adapted to the natural conditions as an “artificial cow foot”. The foot has a diameter of 105 mm and therefore a contact area of 75 cm²; the carrying edge of the hoof is simulated by a 5 mm wide ring on the periphery of the sole that projects 1 mm above the rest of the surface.
At a minimum of three farms, the tarsi (ankle joints) of all² cows held in the relevant cowsheds are examined by an independent specialist with relevant experience, and the animals’ behaviour while standing up and lying down on the floor covering is observed. Mats of the make to be tested are installed in all cubicles at least three months before examination. The examined cows are held exclusively in the relevant cowshed for at least three months before the examination; i.e. they have no access to grazing.
2 Exceptions: cows in the first trimester of lactation / non-lactating cows / cows that were held in the relevant cowshed for less than three months prior to examination (e.g. purchased; see 2.4) / cows that often lie in the walkway / cows that are ill or were ill recently (e.g. recumbency after calving) / cows injured due to an accident
At three farms, the tarsi (ankle joints) of 105 cows were examined by an independent specialist with relevant experience, and the animals’ behaviour while standing up and lying down on the floor covering was observed. The requirements relating to BTS conformity are met.
Deformability and elasticity
A penetration depth of 12.9 mm was determined in ball-indentation tests in new condition with a calotte (r = 120 mm) and a penetration force of 2,000 N (corresponding to approx. 200 kg). A bearing pressure of 21.1 N/cm² was calculated from this, indicating a relatively small load on the carpal joints when lying down and standing up.
The elasticity was measured following a permanent loading test with a steel foot (contact area 75 cm²) with 100,000 alternating loads at 10,000 N. Following the endurance test, the penetration depth of the calotte decreased from 12.6 mm to 10.6 mm. The bearing pressure increased from 21.1 N/cm² to 25.0 N/cm² (see Figure 2). This corresponds to a decrease in deformability and elasticity. The requirements relating to BTS conformity are met.
Permanent tread load
No noticeable wear was observed at the base of the honeycomp following permanent tread load with a steel foot (contact area 75 cm²) on a test rig with 100,000 alternating loads at 10,000 N (corresponding to approx. 1,000 kg). No permanent deformation was observed.
|Requirement for BTS conformity2||Test results||Evaluation|
|<b>Animal health </b>|
|1. arsi (ankle joints) with scabs or open wounds as % of examined tarsi||max. 25 %||4.3 %||requirement met|
|2. Tarsi with larger scabs (> 2 cm) or larger open wounds (> 2 cm) as % of examined tarsi||max. 8 %||1.4 %||requirement met|
|3. Tarsi with another serious change (e.g. change in size) as % of examined tarsi||max. 1 %||0 %||requirement met|
|4. Other serious physical harm to the animals that could be caused by the rubber mat.||none||none||requirement met|
|5. Behavioural abnormalities that could be caused by the rubber mat.||none||none||requirement met|
|<b>Deformability and elasticity</b>|
|6. Penetration depth into the rubber mat in new condition||min. 10 mm||12.6 mm||requirement met|
|7. Penetration depth into rubber mat following permanent tread load||min. 8 mm||10.6 mm||requirement met|
The tested New Farms sandbedmat meets the requirements of the BTS programme regarding deformable mattresses for bovine livestock (Swiss Ethics Programme Ordinance of 25th June 2008, Annex 3).
Technology and Farm Inputs,
DLG test scope
BTS programme regarding deformable mattresses for bovine livestock
(Swiss Ethics Programme Ordinance of 25th June 2008, Annex 3)
Dipl.-Ing. Susanne Gäckler
Dr. Harald Reubold *
* Reporting engineer