On Scholtens farm as on other Danish farms with the Green Stalls the animals seem stress free. Wherever one goes, the boxes are full of resting cows. Wollesen: "Besides the flexible divider bars we moved the neck rail five centimetres down and 10 centimetres further to the back compared with traditional cubicles. The combination of matters ensures that the cows rest as much as possible." Monitoring results showed that it takes only between 29 and 34 seconds from the first hoof in the box until a cow is lying down correctly. Row after row the cows are all resting with their behind nicely at the edge of the box, keeping manure and urine out of the sand box as much as possible.
The farmers are really fond of the cubicles. "The cows are spotless and relaxed. Because they are off their feet for prolonged times, 10 to 12 hours per day, hoof and leg quality is better than I have seen ever before. The fact that the herd is so relaxed makes it very easy to spot cows in heat. If you have experienced your herd in a barn like this, you know this is the way it is supposed to be."
Results make the difference
Apart from the nice sight of relaxed cows, the results make the difference. The Green Stall cost about 10% more than traditional steel ones (depending on local steel prices), but a return on the extra investment can be possible within three months. Scholtens saw an increase of five litres of milk per cow per day to a total of 12,000 litres per cow per year and a cell count never over 100,000, but that includes the move from an old barn to the new Serre barn. On average supplier Wollesen sees an increase of 2.2 litres per cow per day with 150,000 cubicles delivered. "But there is more. On average the animals live 8% longer in our system. Per 100 animals that amounts to eight years extra milk production and eight extra calves born." That is where the real profit is.