For dairy cows there is already a wide range of lying facilities. These range from organic bedding materials, different types of mattresses to waterbeds, with each system offering certain advantages. With the new Akwatopsoft, GEA now offers farmers a first-class mattress system for freestall cubicles that combines all the advantages.
A 40 mm thick foam mattress with a waterbed overlay provides 70 mm of comfort, which stimulates the cows to remain lying down for longer periods, contributes to animal health and increases milk production consequently.
The Akwatopsoft system consists of a 100% PU foam mattress which is sealed in a heavy-duty foil. A top cover with separate waterbeds is mounted on top of this. The roll length allows up to 50 meters. A top cover is available for bed widths 115, 120 and 125 cm. The selection of the robust and reliable components used is based on GEA's many years of experience with mattress systems and has already shown the first positive effects on cows in various farms, which can be bedded on the Akwatopsoft system in the freestall cubicles.
Farmer Frank Boks runs a dairy farm with over 200 cows together with his parents in Biddinghuizen (Netherlands). He explains why he chose GEA's Akwatopsoft mattress system in combination with the Combi Comfort cubicle in combination with: "We’ve already had experience with using waterbeds. The disadvantage, however, is that the water moves to the sides when the cow lays down, so it actually still ends up on the concrete. With the new Akwatopsoft mattresses this does not happen. The cubicles are a lot softer and the cows are much more comfortable," says Boks. "We are already noticing that the cows go straight into the cubicles, lie down with guidance and actually don't touch the cubicle divisions. As a result, there is no manure in the cubicles, for example," says Frank Boks about the advantages of Akwatopsoft in terms of hygiene and increased lying time in the cubicle.
The foam mattress offers the cows a high degree of comfort during their resting phases, a very good grip when getting up and lying down and also prevents hock abrasions. The water bed also adapts itself to the cow’s conditions by absorbing warmth and has a cooling effect. This prolongs the lying period per cow, an essential goal for farmers aiming to increase milk production. When the cow is in this relaxing position, blood circulation and rumination are optimized. When unoccupied, the mattress swells, allowing the leaked milk to drain easily, which improves the bed hygiene.
Together with the Combi Comfort cubicles and the new Akwatopsoft mattress system, Frank Boks uses other proven GEA components on his dairy farm. These include the VCool silo tank for milk cooling with heat recovery, CowScout for monitoring animal health and heat detection and three GEA DairyRobot R9500 milking robots. "In terms of comfort for the farmer and the cow, our barn is equipped for the future and we will enjoy our work in the coming years", Frank Boks is convinced.