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Technology Of Composted Bedded Loose Housing For Cows

Irbis Ltd. offers technology of loose housing for cows on the composted bedding pack made of sawdust.

For a long time this technology has been well used in USA and Canada. It becomes a good alternative to the loose box housing for cows.

Unlike traditional to Russia technology of cow housing, which uses deep bedding made of manure, the composted bedding is made of sawdust. After sawdust oxygenation the following natural processes take place.

The bedding microorganisms absorb oxygen and excrete carbonic acid, moisture and heat. Cow manure and urine provide nutrient environment (carbon and nitrogen). Approximately 30 percent of cow manure is accumulated in the bed area and 70 percent of it is regularly taken away from concrete feed alley, transition galleries and milking block. As a result it causes natural sawdust composting, which influences perniciously on pathogenic microorganisms. The temperature inside of composted bedding is always within 40-50 degrees centigrade. Surface airing and sawdust and manure mixing are made by the primitive cultivator supply, hanged on a tractor. Cultivation is carried out two times a day while cows are out of the barn being milked.

While bringing cows to the barn the preliminary bedding made of 20-30 centimeters of sawdust should be provided. An optimal bedding space is 7,5 - 8,0 м2 per cow. During further exploitation fresh sawdust should be added to bedding zones every 7-21 days (depends on concrete conditions and the season). A complete change of composted bedding should be done twice a year. 

Ventilation, proper planning of building envelope and choice of farm or complex location are of great importance for the right exploitation of compost barns.

For more information about technology of composted bedding housing for cows you can see the original presentations from Minnesota University, USA. We also offer you to consider one of variants of general layout of the composted bedding housing complex designed for 1200 forage cows.

The advantages of composted bedding loose housing in comparison with box housing:

  • the highest possible comfort for cows;
  • comfortable accommodation for cows in the rest area;
  • warm bedding surface: cows feel comfortable to lay down and stand up;
  • no traumatic metal separators;
  • most of time cow hooves stand on dry and soft surface;
  • multiple decrease of injuries and tumors of joints and hooves;
  • reduced amount of udder inflammations;
  • lower SCC.

As a result cows show better milk production, the level of culling becomes lower and productive life of cows becomes approximately one lactation longer.

It is significant that such variant of loose cow housing is relevant to the central part of Russia and Siberia because of a long cold period of time.

Composted bedding housing is also very important to step-by-step building of a big complex: there is no common system of manure removal among all the barns.

Building of farms and complexes with composted bedding housing is cheaper:

  • no free stalls in the rest area (and no concrete);
  • no need in mattress for boxes;
  • no need in delta-scraper equipment;
  • no common channel of manure removal with manure transfer and supply pumps;
  • no need in liquid manure storages.

This variant of cow housing is not profitable only to producers and sellers of manufacturing equipment for cow barns: it decreases sales volume of equipment and therefore a profit of the sellers. What is more, during further complex exploitation it becomes impossible to sell service and spare parts of equipment and at the end of equipment lifetime (5 – 7 years) it also becomes impossible to sell new mattresses and new equipment. Only in Russia this companies offers to dairy farmers “the right technology” of loose cow housing, which is completed with a maximum amount of equipment. In Europe, USA and Canada a technology of cattle housing is developed by special companies, which are independent from equipment sellers and are free to make decisions which are optimal to concrete agricultural enterprise.

This very approach of planning and realization of dairy farming projects are strongly recommended by  Irbis Ltd.