Straight Concrete Grooves
Straight grooves are typically used with the traffic flow. Such as in alleys, breezeways, outdoor walkways from the barn to the parlor, outdoor yards. The straight grooves will help as the cows are walking with the groove from slipping and splitting out. Another area for straight grooves is large open areas such as cow yards. Straight grooves will help the cows from slipping in these areas. the straight grooves will catch their hoof before it splits. Remember cut in grooves have the straight side from top to bottom so the hoof catches the groove, whereas floated in grooves have a little radius towards the top that might allow the hoof to pop out.
Diagonal Concrete Grooves
Diagonal grooves are used in a few different situations. The most common situation would be in alleys with existing straight grooves, here we go diagonally across the existing grooves which actually gives you a diamond pattern. In some cases, it helps the existing straight grooves to be more effective. Diagonal grooves are also used to go across stamped stone patterns. With the stamp stone pattern, it is to difficult to use straight grooves. Another use for diagonal grooves is when you get areas that are pitched or sloped and the cows need the grooves for traction. A good example of this is in a holding area that has straight grooves going up the parlor but has a pitch that makes it difficult for the cows to get tractions. Diagonal grooves work perfectly on crosswalks where they are turning from alley to alley.
Diamond Pattern Concrete Grooves
The diamond pattern is the most effective, it consists of straight grooves and diagonal grooves or otherwise known as a double cut. With the diamond pattern, the cows get traction in any direction which works well where they are doing a lot of pushing. We recommend the diamond pattern in high traffic areas, around corners, in front of doorways, and when pen breeding with a bull.
Tractor Tread Pattern Concrete Grooving
The Tractor tread pattern (herring bone pattern) is where we start at the middle of the area and groove diagonally to left and then to the right, mostly on steeper walkways so the cows get more traction on the steeper walkway. Each farm facility has its own situation. We look at each situation, like traffic flow, the slope of the area, and area animal capacity, then we discuss our recommendation on which pattern is best and most cost-effective for the situation with our client.
Aspects to Consider for Constructing Cow-friendly Floors in Dairy Barns
There are several factors present in a dairy barn that influence the environment available to cows. One of the main factors is the flooring system that has been installed. Cows usually spend ten to twelve hours every day standing in freestall barns. As such, lameness is a common problem faced by dairy cows and becomes the primary reason why cows get culled from their herd. If the problem of lameness continues, it generally results in significant economic losses for dairy producers.
In addition, after lameness other problems start surfacing such as shortened lactation, delayed estrus, milk fat of poor yield, lower breeding performance, and sharp body weight drop. All these issues bring down revenue dairy producers make. It has been noticed that one of the main reasons for lameness is floors which are of poor quality.
Construction of Cow Friendly Floor
If dairy producers want to avoid the problem of lameness and create a floor that is cow friendly then they will have to pay attention to certain aspects right at the time floor is constructed. Features cow friendly floor must include:
- Offer a walking surface that is relatively dry.
- Offer comfortable footing.
- Offer good durability.
In addition to these features, a part of the flooring must have soft characteristics so that cows get a respite from the hardness of concrete. The design and construction of floors should be such that they have structural soundness and features included in the flooring last for longer duration.
Construction of Concrete Floor
If concrete floors are roughened with the aim of lowering slippage then such floors excessively wear the hooves and if floors are made smooth, then they do not provide required traction. Thus, a very fine line separates floors which are rough and result in abrasion related injury and floors which are way too smooth, resulting in injury due to an inadequate footing.
It is worth mentioning here that incorrect finishing on the floor is one of the serious mistakes that is made at the time the dairy barn is constructed. For instance, if floors have rough finish then such floors expedite foot wear by as much as twenty percent, resulting in cows getting culled because of lameness within 3 weeks of their occupancy in a new barn.
If a grooved concrete floor is being constructed then it should have the following characteristics:
- There should be flat surface in-between grooves.
- The surface should be smooth in-between grooves.
- The groove edges should be smooth and have a right angle between the floor surface and the groove.
- There should be proper groove depth, spacing, and width.
The task of cutting grooves can be performed for concrete floors after the floor's initial curing completes. Additionally, it is possible to re-groove old concrete floors as required for enhancing traction.
In cured concrete, if grooves are to be cut then a saw can be used which is similar to the one utilized for cutting expansion joints when concrete roadways are constructed. The saw is usually adapted to have diamond dado blades so that grooves can be cut in concrete that has cured.
When grooves are cut in concrete that has hardened, it eliminates the necessity of timely completion, as is necessary for wet concrete grooving and the contractor need not have experience in such procedure.
You can utilize services of concrete finishing crews for tasks like placing, screeding, floating, and troweling of slabs on grade that are to be utilized as barn alleys. After that, you can appoint a separate contractor who specializes in concrete alley grooving.
Watch Dave cutting grooves in the video below