The floor surface at a dairy barn should have a good textured finish so that cow gets required traction while walking. At the same time, the surface should have enough smoothness to be cleaned properly. Many times it happens that the floor surface is too smooth and because of that cows slip and get injured. In other situations, the floors tend to be quite rough and due to that cows start developing leg and feet problems. Thus, it is important to create a perfect balance between cleanability and traction.
Additionally, alley floors need to be durable as well as strong so that they can withstand repeated cleaning and manure acids. To accomplish this goal you will have to use concrete of at least 25MPa along with air entrainment of 6%. Here, you need to be aware of the fact that air entrainment is a form of concrete additive that helps in increased durability of concrete.
Ideal floor finish maintains the right type of grooves and surface texture to attain needed traction. This combination can be produced by using two different methods:
- Finish making the concrete surface and then create grooves while the surface is wet.
- Make grooves in concrete floor surface after it cures.
Reduce Slippage on Floor Surfaces at a Dairy Barn Using Floor Grooving
Even if a floor has a textured finish, it is possible that cows will slip. When there are grooves in the floor surface, they offer edges that cows can catch and keep themselves from slipping and falling. There are different types of grooves that can be created such as:
Longitudinal Grooves: One option is to create grooves that are parallel to the feed manager. These grooves are 1.25cm deep and 2cm wide. They have 8.25cm spacing on center (1/2 inch deep, 3/4 inch wide and 31/4 inch spacing on center).
Diamond Pattern: Apart from longitudinal, the grooves can also have diagonal patterns that are 1 to 1.25cm deep, 1.25cm wide, and have 10 to 15cm spacing in-between them.
It is easy to create longitudinal grooves, but in sections like crossovers where it is necessary for cows to take sharp turns, you should create grooves that are at an angle to form a diamond-like pattern. This way, cows will get extra traction when they turn.
Formation of grooves, while the concrete is wet, is actually an art. If grooves are formed while concrete is wet, the resultant grooves will not be able to hold their shape. Similarly, when concrete is too dry, forming grooves will become difficult and in addition, surface finish could well get harmed.
Moreover, at the time of grooving, it will be necessary to ensure the surface remains flat. The reason is that when grooving is performed over a wet concrete surface, some amount of concrete gets displaced. Such displaced concrete can make the surface curved in-between grooves.
If it is a wet grooved concrete floor, you may have to get rid of the initial roughness of the surface. This task can be achieved by:
- Dragging multiple concrete blocks using a vehicle till the time sharp edges wear off from the concrete surface.
- Another technique involves the use of steel scraper for removing the sharp edges from the surface. Both these methods will effectively age the concrete surface and lower the likelihood of sore feet for the cows.
To end with, it can be said that obtaining consistent results becomes easier when concrete flooring is completed to have a broom finish and then it is allowed to harden for around 14 days. When the concrete cures, grooves can be cut into the surface.