Business Farming

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Green bedding to bring new dairy farm savings

Derek Casey

Published 09/01/2013 | 06:00

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A new source of bedding material for dairy cow cubicles that claims cost savings over alternatives such as sand and sawdust will be launched at Lamma 2013 next week by slurry handling specialist Bauer.

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At the core of the green bedding system is a new high-performance separator designed to achieve significantly higher dry matter levels in fibrous material separated from slurry.

The material is dry enough to be used daily for bedding cubicles and has been proven on farms to provide a comfortable bed.

"On-farm experience shows that cows like this bedding; they lie down for longer periods, have reduced leg damage and we've seen reductions in mastitis and cell count where farms have switched from other types of bedding," says Adrian Tindall, Ireland sales manager.

"The green bedding system saves the cost of buying in and storing traditional materials and it reduces the volume of slurry to be stored and spread on the land."

At the heart of the system is a new de-watering machine developed by Bauer that can achieve significantly higher dry matter than the screw separators commonly used to improve slurry management and utilisation.

"The working principle is the same but thanks to its new screw design, pressure control and extra-strong build, this separator can consistently extract more moisture," explains Adrian Tindall.

The new system is complementary to the bedding recovery unit that Bauer also supplies.

"Both have a place on dairy farms looking to reduce the cost of buying-in bedding material," says Mr Tindall.

The bedding recovery unit produces a soft and easy to handle fibrous material of around 40pc dry matter that stores well before use.

The key difference is material from the green bedding separator is typically about 36pc dry matter and needs to be used daily.

"While the €230,000 cost of a bedding recovery unit system is probably only economically viable for the biggest herds, the green bedding system at around €45,000 makes this a viable approach on smaller units," says Mr Tindall.

"With traditional materials costing typically €60 per cow per year, we feel there are savings to be made."

The Lamma Show takes place next Wednesday and Thursday (January 16 and 17) in Nottinghamshire, England.

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