We housed 38 steers in the barn over the winter in total confinement. Now that the pens have been cleaned we wanted to share how each pen’s flooring performed.
Pen 1 was the concrete blocks turned on their sides and back filled with dense grade gravel. Dr. Higgins tested the blocks ability to absorb water, and the results showed that they could hold approximately one gallon each. This means this pen can absorb a large amount of water, but that they also will trap moisture and possibly not dry out as fast as the other treatments. Once cleaned, this pen appeared to hold up good the first year. However, the trapped moisture in the blocks weakened the concrete slightly and the skid steer was grinding the blocks down some when turning on the floor. Other than that, the floor looked the same as when we installed it. (Click on the image to enlarge it)
Pen 3 was the Mechanical Concrete (tires back filled with dense grade gravel). This pen held up well under the intense use of the skid steer. Turning the skid steer on this floor did not seem to tear up any of the floor. This pen also drained well while the cattle where in it. I will also note that this pen was the cheapest and easiest to install.
Pen 3 - Mechanical Concrete
Pen 2 & 4 were the Geo Grid and 4” Geo Cell respectfully. Both of these treatments performed well with the cattle present, and were extremely easy to clean. They hold up well to the skid steer and look to have the longest life of the four treatments we installed.
Pen 2 - Geo Grid
Pen 4 - Geo Cell
Of all four options, we think the best was the honeycombed shaped Geo Grid. Considering the cost, ease of installation, performance, and maintenance it looks to be the best long term choice for livestock flooring inside a building. We also liked the Mechanical Concrete (tires) however they will require some additional gravel at select intervals. The concrete blocks will require the most maintenance and/or complete replacement the quickest and they retain moisture making them. our least favorite application. We will note that all four treatments did have a huge advantage over the existing dirt floor that was previously in the barn.