By Barb Ernster
Kemps’ ice cream adage, “It’s the Cows,” sums it up for today’s farmer: the more comfortable the cow—or chicken or pig—the better the production. That’s the premise behind a cow mattress system made by North Brook Farms Inc., Auburn, N.Y. The system involves a 1-1/2 to 3-inch, closed-cell foam mattress pad covered with 100 percent waterproof woven polyester, impregnated with a solid rubber surface. It provides support to the cow’s legs and feet when standing, and comfort when lying down. Moreover, it provides insulation against the cold concrete and keeps the cow cooler in the summer heat. Cows that are stressed from standing for excessive periods of time or from uncomfortable temperatures have reduced dry matter intake and subsequently lower levels of milk production—up to five liters (1.3 gallons) a day.