Effects of rubber matting on feedlot cattle growth performance, locomotion, and carcass characteristics in slatted floor facilities

Cody R. Dawson, Parker A. Henley, Adam R. Schroeder, William T. Meteer, Courtney A. Hayes, Tara Felix, Daniel W. Shike, Joshua C. McCann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The objective was to determine effects of old and new rubber matting in a slatted, indoor cattle feeding facility on cattle growth performance, locomotion, and carcass characteristics. In experiment 1, fall-born Angus × Simmental steers (N = 207; body weight = 222 ± 38 kg) were blocked by weight and assigned to 32 pens. Pens were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatments: no matting/concrete (CONC1), 12-yr-old Animat Pebble matting (OLD1), new Animat Maxgrip matting (MG), and new Animat Pebble matting (PEB1). Steers were fed a common diet for 209 d with a minimum stocking density of 3.40 m2 per animal. Final body weight (BW) and average daily gain (ADG) were affected (P = 0.02 and P < 0.01, respectively) by treatment with steers on PEB1 finishing heaviest with the greatest growth, MG and CONC1 intermediate, and OLD1 finishing at the lightest final BW with the least growth. Flooring treatment did not affect overall dry matter intake (DMI; P = 0.16) or gain to feed ratio (G:F; P = 0.94). Flooring treatment did not affect (P ≥ 0.19) any carcass traits. Locomotion scores (LS) were affected (P < 0.01) by flooring treatment with CONC1 having the worst mobility while OLD1, MG, and PEB1 were similar (P ≥ 0.24). Locomotion score had a day effect (P < 0.01) where cattle gait and mobility worsened as days on feed increased. In experiment 2, fall-born Angus × Simmental steers (N = 189; BW = 352 ± 43 kg) were blocked by weight and assigned to 21 pens. Pens were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatments: no matting/concrete (CONC2), 15-yr-old Animat Pebble matting (OLD2), and new Animat Pebble matting (PEB2). Steers were fed a common diet for 152 d with a stocking density of 2.65 m2 per steer. After 152 d on feed, flooring treatment did not affect (P ≥ 0.30) BW, ADG, or DMI nor did treatment affect (P ≥ 0.17) carcass traits. However, steers housed on OLD2 or PEB2 had improved locomotion scores (P = 0.02) compared with steers housed on CONC2. Locomotion score had a day effect (P < 0.01) as cattle gait and mobility worsened with greater number of days on feed, regardless of treatment. Overall, results suggest that new rubber matting increased ADG and HCW during a 209-d trial when cattle were stocked at 3.4 m2 in small pens and that rubber matting regardless of age improved cattle locomotion scores in slatted indoor feeding facilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberskac041
JournalJournal of animal science
Volume100
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

Keywords

  • locomotion score
  • slatted flooring
  • space allowance
  • stocking density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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