On the Risk of Stepping into a Cowpat when Crossing a Pasture

Benjamin Mayer

Abstract


Stepping into a cowpat is a common nuisance for millions of farmers around the globe. Due to a rising demand for meat as a consequence of population growth and the desire for species-appropriate husbandry, huge amounts of cow pastures are accessed to meet these requirements. As a result, the frequency of unwelcomed missteps increases. To investigate the risk of an unpleasant encounter with a cow's legacy, a simulation study has been conducted on the basis of two-dimensional random walks, incorporating various scenarios of different shoe sizes, step lengths, number of steps and number of cowpats. The length of a random walk did not affect the mean number of steps into a cowpat (p=0.964). On average, people with smallest investigated shoe size had 8.9 (SD 5.8) missteps less than those with largest shoe size. The number of missteps decreases if the length of a crossing walk increases, moreover misstep frequency shows some kind of an asymptotic behaviour. Crossing cow pastures without explicitly watching each step does not require to keep the walk preferably short in order to minimize the risk of stepping into a cowpat. The more cowpats on a pasture are, the more beneficial is it to have small feet.

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