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Hoof-impact and slide measurements for common Ontario dairy farm floorings.

J. E. French



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Hoof-impact and slide measurements for common Ontario dairy farm floorings.
J. E. French*1, J. J. Thomason2, T. C. Wright1, V. R. Osborne3. 1Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Guelph, ON, Canada, 2Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph Guelph, ON, Canada, 3Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph Guelph, ON, Canada.

In the context of preventing lameness and injury from slipping, our objective was to characterize hoof impact and slide on 6 flooring types (FT) commonly used in Ontario dairy farms: DC: diamond-grooved concrete, EC: sanded epoxy-covered concrete, GR: grooved rubber mat, HR: high-profile rubber mat, LR: low-profile rubber mat, and TG: turf grass (Kentucky bluegrass/fescue mix). Surface hardness (SH) was measured on each FT using a Clegg drop hammer. Five pre-trained lactating Holstein cows were each walked over all 6 surfaces sequentially in a randomized order. Walking speeds were determined from 200-fps videos in MATLAB. A 3-axis accelerometer that was epoxied to the lateral claw of each hindfoot captured continuous horizontal (aH) and vertical (aV) accelerations at 2500 Hz during each trial. All aH and aV waveforms were inspected on-screen to identify irregularities that indicated hoof slipping. Impact events (from contact to the hoof being still) were isolated for 3—6 stances/trial, and peak decelerations (aHmax, aVmax) were determined in MATLAB. Each aH impact event was double integrated backward, from still to moving, to estimate normal hoof slide. Ranking aHmax and slide values gave separate indicators of relative grip/slip among surfaces. The influences on aHmax and aVmax of FT, SH, cow, speed and claw (and all significant higher-order factors) were assessed by ANOVA in SAS 9.4, after verifying data normality. SH positively affected aVmax (P < 0.05), but not aHmax (P = 0.75), which are expected results. aHmax was affected by FT (P < 0.01), strongly implicating differences in surface friction (not measured here). The ranking of surfaces (from low to high grip) on aHmax was: LR, EC, HR, GR, DC, TG, and on hoof slide was EC, GR, HR, LR, TG, DC, with only LR moving substantially, indicating that the variables measure similar aspects of surface properties. Unexpected hoof slips were only seen for 3 stances, 2 on turf and 1 on HR. The hoof-surface interaction can be assessed in subtle detail, and such data may be of use in preventing injury by slipping.

Keywords: dairy cattle, hoof-surface interaction.