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Certification marks completion of rigorous agriculture product testing through Germany-based DLG
[SUN PRAIRIE, WISC. – July 26, 2016] After months of rigorous testing, DCC Waterbeds (Dual Chamber Cow Waterbeds) have been awarded the DLG Technology and Farm Input Test Center’s DLG APPROVED seal for performance in cow comfort. The DLG Technology and Farm Input Test Center delivers top-quality performance testing methodology recognized and trusted by the agriculture industry in Europe.
The DLG Center in Gross-Umstadt near Frankfurt, Germany, perform quality tests on agricultural machinery and farm inputs using a time-tested philosophy and method faithful to the trusted underlying principles of the internationally recognized DLG tests.
“We know that unbiased validation is important for dairy producers in the decision making process. With the DLG tests on elasticity, tread load, abrasion and slip resistance, DLG has confirmed what we’ve know from our nearly 20 years of history in barns around the world: DCC Waterbeds provide lasting, cow comfort for dairy cows,” said Dean Throndsen, President and CEO of Advanced Comfort Technology, the worldwide distributor of DCC Waterbeds.
“DCC Waterbeds are a popular bedding solution in Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium, so it was important to us to reaffirm to dairy producers that we are committed to meeting the highest cow comfort and product quality standards through being certified by a trusted third-party,” Throndsen added.
Based on test results, the DLG awarded the DLG-APPROVED for criteria that evaluate the comfort and durability properties of DCC Waterbeds for use as dairy bedding.
According to the report, “The DLG-APPROVED test for single value-determining criteria ‘Deformability/Elasticity, Permanent Tread Load, Abrasion, Slip resistance’ includes technical measurements on test stands of the DLG Test Center. The deformability and elasticity, the abrasion resistance, the slip resistance were measured and a permanent tread load was applied. The test was based on the DLG Testing Framework for elastic stable flooring, as of April 2010.”
To view the complete test report, visit www.DLG.org/dcc-waterbed.html
Since it was established 130 years ago, both the DLG organization and the contents of the DLG quality tests for agricultural machinery and farm inputs have gained an excellent reputation.
Over the years, the DLG has introduced many seals of approval in various forms, but they all have one thing in common: they deliver proof of outstanding product quality, based on independent, impartial assessment.
DCC Waterbeds is proud to have achieved certification and received the DLG APPROVED Seal.
For more information about DCC Waterbeds, contact Amy Throndsen at (608) 709-2693 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about DLG testing, visit www.dlg.org.
Headquartered in Wisconsin, Advanced Comfort Technology, Inc., is a family-owned company that distributes DCC Waterbeds worldwide. ACT, Inc., has been improving dairy cow comfort by providing waterbeds for cows since 1999. For more information, visit www.DCCWaterbeds.com or www.advancedcomforttechnology.com.
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There are SO MANY advantages to sand bedding for dairy cows. University researchers are quoted extensively in dairy magazines and websites touting the advantages of sand.
We thought we’d stretch our humor muscles and come up with a few “advantages” that are often overlooked. Of course all of these “advantages” are the direct result of sand management issues—which are often the direct result of LIFE and things you can’t control. When an employee quits, when you get sick, when it rains and then the sun comes out and you’re behind on field work, when your sand supplier sends you a bad load of sand, when your equipment breaks—all of these things are out of your control, and that’s when the headaches of managing sand can spin out of control, too.
Some of these “advantages” have popped up in barns we’ve visited recently. So, have a chuckle about ol’ Mr. Sand with us. He’s not perfect either.
Did you know that research shows that DCC Waterbeds perform on par with sand bedding in preventing hock lesions and injuries? A 2007 study published in the Journal of Dairy Science reported that 95% of the cows on waterbeds had hock scores of 0 and 1, while 97.5% of the cows on sand had hock scores of 0 or 1 (compared to just 82% of the cows on mattresses having scores of 0 and 1).That means DCC Waterbeds were within 2.5% of sand – those are some healthy hocks on both sand and DCC Waterbeds. Visit http://bit.ly/JDS2007 for the complete study.
Let’s celebrate sand by listing ALL of its "advantages:"
1) Your cows will never be lonely. With the excitement of sand flies joining the cows for a nap in the summer, your cows will always have someone to keep them company. Sand flies are like pets for your cows, irritating little pets.
2) Regular shopping sprees! Since you love shopping, sand allows you to do more of it, more often. With regular repair to your manure handling equipment shopping for parts, pumps, scraper blades and chains is guaranteed.
3) You love paying for things twice! You buy sand endlessly by the ton, and then get to pay to dig it out of the lagoon and haul it out to the fields each year.
4) Cows don’t need to get up for a snack. Isn’t it great that cows under-the-weather love to lick sand? They can just lay around all day and lick the sand until they feel better.
5) Provides a hobby for cows. It may be boring for some people, but collecting rocks can be a magnificent hobby! The variety, size, and composition of stones found in sand can create a lovely rock collection for the aspiring cow collector.
6) Keeps cows fit. Not only do cows get to dig in the sand in the front of the stall and kick the sand out the back of the stall – all, apparently, to stay fit while creating their perfect little sand heaven, but when it rains and snows and the sand gets frozen into chunks, cows can have a sand-ball-fight!
7) Keeps your farm connected. Your balance sheet stays connected with the outside world, and sand helps keep you even more connected – to the price of sand, labor, and fuel as all of your sand hauling equipment guzzle it.
8) Cow pedicures come free with sand bedding. It’s like living in a spa when you have sand bedding, right? The hooves are nice and smooth, sometimes too smooth, sometimes way too smooth.
9) Eliminates idle hands. Have an extra half hour? Don’t go check the score of the game, go rake your sand stalls. Have an extra hour? Don’t go play catch with your kids, go groom your sand stalls. Any time you have a little bit extra, you should probably go rake your sand, or replace it completely. The more often you do, the more comfortable your cows are going to be.
10) Eliminates boredom in the parlor. The parlor is usually a quiet, slow-pace place to work, so with sand, you can combat boredom by having parlor staff wipe off grimy, sand coated udders. Wouldn’t want them to have nothing to do.
11) Cows lie down longer (even when they don’t want to). Ever seen a cow stuck under a free stall loop or a fresh cow struggling to gain footing on sand? On the bright side, she’ll lie down longer.
12) Superior comfort. According to Dr. Mich Schutz at Purdue (#162), sand provides superior cushioning for knees and hocks. We don’t dispute this fact. In fact, we’re happy that DCC Waterbeds on par with sand in terms of comfort.*
*Sand must be at least 6-8 inches sloped from head to tail, and the rear level should not be below the curb. Approximately 40 pounds per stall per day should be added to the stalls. Stalls must be the correct dimensions. Stalls should be groomed during milking (2-3 times per day). Compare to DCC Waterbeds cleaning.
13) Sand does not support bacterial growth. Sand is inorganic, so bacteria find the environment hostile, helping prevent mastitis.**
**Sand must be groomed to prevent pooling of liquid and manure in the sand creating “dirt” where bacteria can freely grow. Grooming and refilling are extremely important, regardless of whether it is a busy season or you have an emergency to attend to. Also, when using a sand-manure-recycling system you must make sure the sand gets clean and dries. Compare to the maintenance of DCC Waterbeds.
14) Sand is easy to maintain during milking.***
***Unless you are the one milking. Or you are looking to cut down labor costs. Or you’ve switched to robots, so no one is milking, then you’re just disrupting the cows.
15) Sand is cool in the summer.****
****If the cow lies on top of the freshly groomed sand beds and doesn’t dig down deep. IF.
16) Sand is relatively inexpensive^
^If you have an available source of inexpensive sand or happen to have a dairy set up for sand-manure-separation (a system that can cost upward of $1,000,000). Otherwise, when you add in labor, sand costs, and equipment wear and tear, the cost of sand may not justify the relative comfort levels.
Accessories not included: Sand hauling equipment, sand blowers, sand levelers, sand rakes, front-end loaders, manure equipment replacement parts, fuel.
Author's note: We at DCC Waterbeds intend this to be a humorous, tongue-in-cheek message about some of the headaches of managing sand. Of course we know that all dairy producers - sand/waterbed/flat mat/manure solids/pasture based/etc. - are doing their best to create optimal levels of cow comfort. Our point is simply this: not everyone believes that managing sand is worth the effort, or find themselves in a position where they do not have the resources to manage it at a high enough level to maintain cow comfort. We hope you can laugh with us. After all, we sell cow waterbeds and get laughed at all the time.
Many times producers will tell us that they “don’t like mattresses” because they consistently perform poorly, contributing to hock abrasions, wearing out in five to six years, and need tremendous amounts of additional bedding material.
We tell these folks over and over: Dual Chamber Cow Waterbeds are NOT mattresses. Here are the major differences:
The fill base of all manmade flat mattresses on the market are solid rubber, latex, crumb rubber, foam, or fabric. These base materials are then encased in covers made of rubber, latex, or fabric. The construction leads to two major problems: 1) the materials inside the mattress will pack, and 2) the top cover and seams are the weakest point in the system and often tear.
DCC Waterbeds are a vulcanized rubber bladder system. Since they are filled with water, it is impossible for them to ever pack. Also, there is no top cover. The bed itself is guaranteed for 10 years (six years when installed in a tie stall barn).
The ultimate test of a bedding surface’s performance is when the cow is lying. Mattresses may feel soft when the cow is standing on them, but standing is not where you want your cows to be. Cows are most productive and least susceptible to lameness when they are lying down. When cows lie on flat mats, no matter how soft the mat is, the surface she lies on is inflexible. The only thing that moves is her skin, and her skin abrades against the flat mat surface. This rubbing is what causes hock injuries, which leads to discomfort and more standing up.
Again, DCC Waterbeds are totally different. The front pillow cushions the knees as she descends. The rear cushion comforts her hips as she drops to the resting position. As the cow continues her lying bout, up to three hours at a time and 12-14 hours per day, the DCC Waterbed acts much like a specialty hospital bed where a person is confined for long periods. The hospital bed moves with the skin, preventing bedsores. The DCC Waterbed performs the same function. The cows body forces the water to her lighter points, her hocks, knees and udder, her pressure points, and the bed moves with her skin, preventing sores.
Cost and durability
Manmade rubber flat mattresses and DCC Waterbeds can be comparable in terms of up-front costs. However, we tell farmers to take into consideration two things 1) the warranty and 2) the amount of additional bedding you need to keep the mattress comfortable. DCC Waterbeds have a 10-year warranty and need little to no additional bedding material to provide consistent and superior cow comfort.
It is important when reading news articles or research studies that waterbeds of any type are not ever confused with results for mattresses. Data for mattresses cannot be used as data for waterbeds. In one study that compared waterbeds, sand, and mattresses, you can see how much better waterbeds perform compared to mattresses: http://bit.ly/JDS2007.
Barn audits by milk processors or evaluations for certifications that you seek as a dairy producer are becoming more frequent and more intense as consumer demand is setting standards for dairy practices and herd health. More and more frequently, we hear from our customers who have recently been audited because they want to share their excellent audit experiences.
In December a dairyman in Montana reached out to tell us that their auditor, who was also a veterinarian and nutritionist, already knew that the herd would be exceptional based on her experience seeing DCC Waterbeds at other dairies. Only 15 of the dairy’s 180 cows, the older cows, had slight hair loss, compared to 20%+ when the cows were on mats. He recounted the struggles he had with open sores, hair loss, and lameness on his previous flat-mat bedding.
This producer is one of many who report zero hock sores and high levels of cow comfort.
“We are part of a specialty milk program, so we have to be inspected each year [by a third party]. One of their stipulations was we have to have at least four inches of bedding if you have mattresses, and we use none. So, we didn’t think we were going to pass,” said Larry Baer of Marshalville, Ohio. Baer has 500 DCC Waterbeds. “The inspector came the first year and had never heard about waterbeds. She showed up at the farm at 9:30 in the morning and didn’t leave until 4 p.m. She looked at the barn, the facilities, the schedule, and closely at the cows. When we got the report back, we had passed with flying colors. We scored very, very high.”
The same story came out of Michigan:
“In 2012 when we went through the Michigan Milk Producers Association verification of cow comfort, we had just one cow out of 140 with markings and bruising on her hocks, but her twin sister had the same problem so it might have been a genetic thing. The rest of our cows have no bruising on their hocks,” said Steve Foley of Millington, Michigan. Foley has 336 DCC Waterbeds for his milking herd and heifers. “Also, they found that 99 percent of the cows show a normal locomotion and were standing properly. A lot of our cows are lying down, which tells you that they’re comfortable out there.”
It is a testament to the comfort of DCC Waterbeds that these outside consultants and evaluators are coming in and supporting what we know to be true with the data to back it up.
We continue to work to share the benefits of DCC Waterbeds with auditors and other industry professionals, so we can continue to help connect the dots between cow comfort, hock health, and DCC Waterbeds.