Technology: Solid ground under hoof


| EcoRaster provides mud solution for equine, cattle, and landscaping industries |

IT’S NO SECRET that new technology can bring sweeping innovations, even to age-old industries like agriculture. One such product is making a big splash in the cattle, equine and horticulture/landscaping industries. Actually, the product — called EcoRaster — is aimed at eliminating any type of splash at all.

EcoRaster is a ground-reinforcement system, made from a plastic grid, that creates a stable ground cover and controls muddy areas — a big issue in Florida’s sandy soils and monsoon-like rainy season. “It really fulfills a lot of different needs,” shares Dennis Walls, CEO of Lentus Products LLC, a supplier of EcoRaster in Central Florida, the Southeast and U.S. The pallet-size plastic grids are laid down on the ground, connected and filled with gravel, sand, or sod.

Developed in Germany, EcoRaster has been used in Europe for 20 years to combat roadside erosion. In the U.S., Lentus Products supplies EcoRaster to a variety of sectors, from residential to military. The product can be used for driveways, walkways, parking lots and even lawn spaces. The beauty of EcoRaster is that it creates a stable ground that allows water and liquids to permeate through; it’s something concrete or asphalt just can’t do.

The product is turning a lot of heads in the agriculture industry — especially the cattle and equine sectors — as EcoRaster helps create a “splash-free” environment for the animals’ pens and corrals. For example, when the Lentus Products team visited the University of Georgia’s Dairy Research Extension barn, they saw the dairy cows slogging through mud “almost up to their knees,” recalls Walls, and they knew EcoRaster would solve that problem. The center’s Dr. John Bernard agreed. Soon, the cows will be standing high and dry, thanks to EcoRaster.

EcoRaster has also graced the horse paddocks at Walt Disney World for more than seven years. It’s installed where the horses stand and in the corral. “The great thing about it is that everything seeps through it … there’s no mud, which is one of the biggest issues when it comes to horses or cattle,” maintains Walls. With EcoRaster, “the paddocks are completely dry … it’s a solution Disney has had for the last seven years, and they’re extremely happy with it,” he adds.

As any rancher or owner of horses or cattle knows, keeping animals from slogging through mud is a scourge that must be fought for numerous reasons. Not only is it messy, but mud is also a moist breeding ground for infections and other diseases, especially when it’s combined with the animal’s urine and droppings. In horses, mud creates or exacerbates conditions for ailments like dermatophilosis — referred to as grease heel or rain rot — cellulitis, white line disease, abscesses, and thrush, just to name a few. In cattle, foot rot and coccidiosis disease are just few of the unsavory ailments that are spread in muddy pens and pastures.

Given the nature of Florida’s porous soils and extended rainy season, dealing with mud is a near never-ending battle for those in agriculture. EcoRaster is a durable, cost-effective, easy-to-install option for an innovative way to deal with the ag industry’s muddiest problems.

CREDIT

story by ERIKA ALDRICH