There are zero hock lesions in the barn and DCC Waterbeds are low maintenance.
Bernie Kamphof of Kamphof Farms, Ltd., in Thunder Bay, Ontario, enjoys having DCC Waterbeds because of their consistent, low maintenance comfort. He switched the herd from flat cow mats covered in shavings to DCC Waterbeds in 2010.
Q: Why did you choose DCC Waterbeds?
A: I was looking for something that would be better for the hocks and that would use less bedding. We were having issues with sourcing good shavings, so we were looking for something that didn’t need a lot of bedding. I tried a row of DCC Waterbeds, and the cows liked them, so we went with all waterbeds when we built the new barn.
Q: What is the best thing about DCC Waterbeds?
A: There are zero hock lesions in the barn and DCC Waterbeds are low maintenance.
Q: What set DCC Waterbeds ahead of flat cow mats?
A: One of the biggest problems with mats is that are great in the first year, but then years two and three, they start to get hard and need more bedding. Around six years, they’ll get holes in the cover and need more repair. Every year, it just gets worse and worse with mats. We also like the fact that there is never any moisture pooling on the waterbeds; when a cow gets up, any moisture on the stall runs off. Having clean, dry udders helps the robots to work efficiently.
Q: What set DCC Waterbeds head of sand bedding?
A: We wanted to use the existing slatted floor and manure pit when we built the new barn, so sand just wasn’t an option.
Q: What is the maintenance routine of the beds?
A: We use straw from our farm, so now we have an inexpensive and regular supply of good top bedding, and we are using less. It’s acceptable in the summer when the weather is dry to use very little bedding, but a thin layer of chopped straw gets the surface to dry up quickly.
Q: Have DCC Waterbeds saved you money?
A: Between less maintenance and long life, they were a really smart investment. Cleaning stalls is fast, we go through a couple times a day to clean, but it’s a lot less work than the alternatives.
Q: What's next for your dairy?
A: We are converting our breeding age heifer bedding pack pens into DCC Waterbeds freestalls so the heifers will come in to the barn and right away know what the stalls are for.
Q: How long do you think DCC Waterbeds will last in the barn?
A: The original roll we had in the old barn, we actually emptied the water out and moved the roll to the new barn – and they still look like the day we put them in. I wouldn’t be surprised if they last me 20 years. That has been a real positive.