A fully covered facility, usually with a plastic film over a framed roof, and a concrete slatted floor that covers an effluent holding bunker. The bunker is made of concrete and is large enough to hold or store effluent for extended periods.

The floor slats are designed to allow the effluent to attached to a thin layer of bedding material and drop through into the bunker below. If the bedding material straw is too thick or rubber matting used effluent will form a mat and build up.

This system is not designed to accommodate cow housing for long, extended periods.

loose-house-slatted-sq

A strip of solid concrete or trough along the outside lengths of the shelter can provide a feeding face. This type of development has been more common in New Zealand; Australia only has one to date (2015).

Feed

  • Minimise pasture damage when soils are overly wet, or prevent overgrazing, eg. when pasture is insufficient to meet full herd demand
  • Improved feed utilisation compared with paddock feeding of supplements.

Herd

  • Improved herd monitoring is possible, e.g. heat detection, animal welfare, body condition
  • Reduction in herd lameness possible

Management

  • Opportunities to reuse used bedding in compost and apply to pasture or forage land
  • Can reduce farm maintenance costs associated with paddock renovations following soil pugging and compaction
  • Can also be used for calf rearing and/or dry or hospital herd cows
  • Medium to high capital outlay to establish
  • Unless concrete has rubber matting, not suited to long periods of use. Lameness can increase on slatted concrete.
  • Not suitable for calving unless additional provision of bedding material
  • Increased reliance on feed supplements being grown or purchased, and the risk of seasonal price changes
  • Increased building (and machinery) repairs and maintenance
  • Increased effluent management activities

Significant components

  • Site preparation earthworks
  • Base materials (eg clay, rock)
  • Roof and trusses
  • Concreted bunker and slatted floor

    Optional extras

  • Concrete feeding area
  • Feed bunkers
  • First year feed inventory (if needed)

Structure

  • Roofed structures require structural engineering
  • Location in relation to herd access – close to dairy is convenient but also dependent on location of feed storage areas and intended use of facility

Feed

  • If being used for feeding part or all of feed requirement, then a separate feed area should be added and a supply management plan required.
  • Accommodate feed bunker area and machinery if increased supplementary feeding.

Herd

  • Provide appropriate stock intensity and feed space per cow.

Management

  • Consider effluent type (liquid and solid manure proportion depends on dry cow or lactating cow use, type of feed etc)
  • Removal and application of effluent

Other Jobs

Size and usage will dictate cleaning frequency

Advisor tips

  1. The slatted floor is specifically engineered and designed to allow effluent to pass through, seek a technical adviser