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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Gait of dairy cows on floors with different slipperiness

Telezhenko, E.; Magnusson, M.; Bergsten, C.


This study assessed the slip resistance of different types of solid flooring in cattle housing using a range of technical tests and gait analysis. Dynamic and static coefficient of friction, skid resistance, and abrasiveness were tested on concrete flooring with a smooth finish, a grooved pattern, or a tamped pattern, acid resistant mastic asphalt, soft rubber mats, and a worn slatted concrete floor. Coefficients of friction and skid resistance were tested under clean and slurry-soiled conditions. Linear kinematic variables were assessed in 40 cows with trackway measurements after the cows passed over the floors in a straight walk. All gait variables were assessed as deviations from those obtained on the slatted concrete floor, which was used as a baseline. The coefficient of friction tests divided the floors into 3 categories: concrete flooring, which had a low coefficient of friction (0.29-0.41); mastic asphalt flooring, which had medium values (0.38-0.45); and rubber mats, which had high values (0.49-0.57). The highest abrasion (g/10 m) was on the asphalt flooring (4.48), and the concrete flooring with a tamped pattern had significantly higher abrasiveness (2.77) than the other concrete floors (1.26-1.60). Lowest values on the skid-resistance tests (dry/wet) were for smooth concrete (79/35) and mastic asphalt (65/47), especially with a slurry layer on the surface. Gait analysis mainly differentiated floors with higher friction and abrasion by longer strides and better tracking. Step asymmetry was lower on floors with high skid-resistance values. The most secure cow gait, in almost every aspect, was observed on soft rubber mats. Relationships between gait variables and physical floor characteristics ranged from average to weak (partial correlations 0.54-0.16). Thus, none of the physical characteristics alone was informative enough to characterize slip resistance. With reference to gait analysis, the abrasiveness of the hard surfaces was more informative than the coefficient of friction, but the effect of pattern was better detected by skid-resistance measurements. Consequently, several physical characteristics are needed to objectively describe the slip resistance of cattle floors. Soft rubber mats gave better tracking than hard, solid floors, even with a grooved surface or a tamped pattern.


dairy cattle; concrete flooring; mastic asphalt; rubber mat; slipperiness; locomotion

Published in

Journal of Dairy Science
2017, volume: 100, number: 8, pages: 6494-6503

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biosystems and Technology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biosystems and Technology

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science

Publication Identifiers


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