If you’re worried about the position of the neck rails in your free-stalls, just look at the underside, says Nigel Cook, veterinarian at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. “If you can see it’s been rubbed, then you know that every time a cow gets up she is hitting that metal bar and rubbing it shiny,” he says.

To position a neck rail correctly for a 1,600-pound cow, place it 48 inches from the stall surface and 70 inches from the rear curb, Cook says.