Thursday, 16 June 2022 14:55

Innovation boosts cow comfort

Written by  Mark Daniel
Siesta mat is a durable but markedly softer and comfier matting ideal for New Zealand’s standoff pads. Siesta mat is a durable but markedly softer and comfier matting ideal for New Zealand’s standoff pads.

Keeping cows off pasture during the winter months can be a challenge for some Kiwi farms.

The challenge looks to have been met, thanks to new barn surfacing/matting that should help protect paddocks as well as delivering exceptional cow comfort.

Fresh thinking and new products from Numat are helping farmers effectively innovate their operations and increase animal safety without compromising everyday efficiency and productivity.

Delivered by the Oamaru-based company Numat Agri, continuous research and development has delivered several agricultural surfacing products over the years, resulting in the recent introduction of Siesta mat, a durable but markedly softer and comfier matting ideal for New Zealand’s standoff pads.

Numat director Mike Judd says nothing stands still in this business for long but, “if we do our job right, the cows will stand still and rest comfortably”.

Siesta is said to differ from existing products due to the innovative waffle pattern underneath, which provides superior air-cushioned comfort for cows while also being warm and hoof-friendly. 

“The cushioning factor is huge,” says Judd.

“Farmers want to see cows arrive on the matting and quickly make themselves comfortable, lying down and resting quickly. And, as everyone knows, relaxed cows are happy, productive cows.”

The company notes that many mats on the market feature hard, unyielding rubber edges. This tends to make them hard and uncomfortable for the cow to lie down on.

The Siesta mat is structured uniformly and is comfortable evenly across its whole surface. Other key features include a new surface profile, said to provide more grip compared with other options, leading to reduced slips, injuries and hassles.

Having recently purchased Siesta, Bradley Cook of Milk It Farms in Southland says, “We have dealt with Numat Agri in the past and their service is second to none, so when they showed us the new Siesta matting it was a relatively easy choice for one of our units. We’ll certainly put it to the test, as we’ll use it for a feed pad and stand-off area for 400 cows and as a finishing area for around 70 Wagyu beef cattle.”

Looking at the mats in more detail, original material is imported from Germany, before being custom cut at the Oamaru factory using precision water jets to ensure tighter interlocks between adjoining mats. The overall profile of the mat, at 16mm thick at its thinnest point, is said to be around 60% thicker than competitive products, leading to increased cow comfort, while also making it suitable for mechanical scraping and flood washing.

While some brands of matting are laid loose over the loafing area, Siesta is recess anchored, meaning users can drive heavy vehicles over the matting without worrying about movement or damage, while a ten-year warranty also provides peace of mind.

“Cow comfort is front of mind for many farmers and their animals’ health starts at ground level,” says Judd.

“Knowing how important it is to our customers makes us all here (at Numat) passionate about what we can do, but at the heart of Siesta’s success is the level of rest and relaxation it delivers to cows.”

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