Brisket Locator

Brisket Locator

Optional in short stalls, required in correctly sized stalls!

The resting space in front of the cow is defined by a brisket locator, the purpose of which is to assist in the alignment of the cow when lying in the stall so that manure lands in the alley rather than on top of the stall. When located too far from the rear edge of the curb, cows will lie too far forward and soil the rear of the bed. When located too near to the rear curb, cows will tend to lie more diagonally across the stall.

The normal sequence of movements when a cow rises is shown below taken from Schnitzer (1971).

The lying down movements and rising movements of the cow showing the forward lunge and bob of the head as well as the forward thrust of the forelimb (from Schnitzer, 1971)

As the cow rises, note how the forelimb is thrust forward to support the weight of the cow. We cannot obstruct this movement. Brisket locators higher than 4 inches (10 cm) above the stall surface restrict the cows ability to get her leg over the top of the locator, this forces the cow to get up by thrusting her forelimb directly downwards rather than out in front of her, making rising more difficult.

High brisket locators tend to force the cow to lie diagonally across the stall to create more room for the forelimb thrust when rising. Cows also appear to like to lie with one or more forelimbs outstretched, which high brisket locators prevent from happening.

Because of these problems, some people have recommended the removal of brisket locators. Behavioral research shows that cows prefer stalls without brisket locators to stalls with an 8 inch (20 cm) high wooden locator. In short stalls where the cow has little room to front lunge, brisket locators can be removed with beneficial results. However, in larger stalls, brisket locators are essential!

Whatever brisket locator design is chosen, it should be smooth and rounded, and no higher than 4 inches (10 cm) above the stall surface in a mattress stall or no more than 4 inches (10 cm) above the top of the rear curb in a deep loose bedded stall


The design utilizes concrete, which slopes gently from the target locator position up to a height of 3.5 inches (9 cm) above the rear curb. The slope is distinct enough to position the cow while being shallow enough for the cow to thrust her foot securely against it when rising. This concrete may also be used to anchor vertical posts used for the divider loop mounting. 

Instructions for Installing a Brisket Slope

  1. Pour a rear curb 8 to 9 inches high (20 to 23 cm), and level across the top or slope slightly towards the bedded area. The curb need only be 6 to 8 inches wide (15 to 20 cm), but NO WIDER.
  1. Decide how much space the cow requires for resting length based on her body size. Measure forward from the rear point of the curb. We suggest the following range:
Body Weight (kg) Resting Length (cm)
640 173
730 178
820 183


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