THE laying of woven rubber matting over existing stamped concrete has reduced stress and injuries for the 2500 cattle passing through Grassdale Feedlot's induction and weighbridge facility each week.
The matting was installed in May, and is believed to the first to be used in an Australian feedlot.
It has been so successful that management is already considering laying it in the hospital and livestock despatch areas of the 34,000-head Mort & Co facility at Dalby on Queensland's Darling Downs.
"It's improved comfort for the animals, reduced stress and injuries caused by slips, trips and falls, and it's reduced hoof abrasions and damage that can lead to infections and illness," Grassdale manager Jordan Peach said.
Mr Peach said the company started to look for alternative floor covering as a means of reducing ongoing foot or impact injuries causing during livestock arrival and induction.
"In some cases can see they've been injured at the time, but in many cases the injury or damage is not identified, until a few weeks down the track when they may present with an infected foot or joint further up the leg."
While concrete flooring is used extensively at Grassdale, and is low-maintenance, long-lasting and easy to clean as a yard base, Mr Peach said Mort & Co believes its investment in the matting has provided good value for money.
"They use it in feedlots in the States, and it can do up to 500,000 head. However, their induction weights are lower than ours, so ours mightn't last that long."
The matting at Grassdale covers 300m2, and was manufactured in Kansas to a template made from survey construction drawings on file at Grassdale. The matting weighs around 26kg/m.
"It arrived in rolls which we used the forklift to put in place, and it took us about two-and-a-half hours to do the lot."
The woven rubber matting was competitively priced with alternatives which use bolts or screws to fix panels or sheeting in place.
"The matting is custom-made for each yard-shape, including curves, and installation does not require surface preparation or extensive fixing."
Mr Peach said the matting has provided grip in both wet and dry conditions, and cushioning in all weather.
"It certainly helps with the flighty cattle because they get traction when they spin around instead of falling over."
One of the unexpected benefits has been a quietening of the workplace.
"You don't get as much noise as you do when cattle are walking on concrete, and the staff like that because it's made the induction area a quieter place to work."