Earlier this year two members of Ridba Wessex visited Holland with a group of farmers from the Wessex area to look into the turning of cattle manure in to bedding.
Three dairy units were visited all had used Green bedding for a minimum of three years. The dairy unit sizes were 100 cows – 200 cows – 300 cows.
All cow cubicles were deep bedded with 20 cm deep of green bedding and every seven days an additional 25 mm of green bedding was added ( every day some waste plus bedding was raked away from each cubicle) In the beginning it took a period of one month to arrive at a depth of 20 cm of bedding ,adding a 5 cm layer of green bedding each week.
The temperature in the deep bedding was 38 degree centigrade and cows were housed all year round .
The Green bedding was produced by mixing cow slurry stored with liquid under the slatted floors of the building . This slurry was pumped to a Visscher Bedder separator which separated the liquids from the solids. The separated solids from the Separator had a dry matter of 34% and then fell from the unit in to a storage compound where it was always used fresh in the cubicles and not stored . ( the filtrate liquid off the separator returned to below slat storage)
The electrical power requirement to operate the Separator system including pump- cutting mill-separator was 14 Kw and the running amps 13
It was noted that the Visscher Separator was capable at the turn of a switch producing separated green bedding with a dry matter of 34% or normal separated solids with a dry matter of say 20 %. The electric control panel which was mounted near the ground had a sensor constantly watching the electrical amps the Separator motor was drawing this then opened or closed an aperture allowing the separated solids to leave the machine at the correct dry matter 34% or 20% or as required.
Concerning the use of Green Bedding in normal cow cubicles with cow mats in the cubicle it was noticed that 30 cm of fresh green bedding was being spread in the beds after every two day time interval. Each day any soiled surplus Green bedding was removed.
The following additional points were mentioned by Dutch farmers using green bedding
- Cows cleaner
- Reduced dust in building
- Cost saving
- Cow comfort good
- Bedding easy to handle using a dispenser
- Ease of slurry storage and handling
Currently there are reported to be some 500 number Bedder Separators operating in Europe.