Cow bedding is a side to dairy farming that is not often seen by the public, despite it being a significant cost in time and money. The amount of bedding options can be overwhelming, especially with new research coming out all the time. The main fact is the more comfortable a cow is, the more milk it will produce.
The ideal bedding for cows is comfortable, dry and has enough grip that the cows can stand up and lie down without fear of slipping. The ideal bedding for farmers keeps your cows happy, is cost effective and able to be cleaned and maintained with minimal fuss. Sand is a great option for this reason and Eagle Direct can help you find the right equipment for your farm that saves you time and money.
The Right Sand
Fine sand tends to pack hard in the stalls, leading to a less comfortable bed for the cow and reduced drainage. Sand that is too coarse can promote drainage but will cause hoof problems once mixed with manure. The best type of sand to use is either concrete sand or mason sand. It has a combination of fine and course particles that stay loose in the stalls but allow for high recovery in sand lanes and mechanical sand operating systems.
Filling the Stalls
Filling stalls is typically done twice a week, with an average of 90kg of sand per stall. A Side-Shooter can help you move this amount of sand while your cows are being milked. The Mensch Side-Shooter is specially designed and is the most durable on the market. It can be bucket, trailer-mounted or self-propelled depending on your needs, and is equipped to handle the weight and abrasiveness of sand unlike other machines.
Handling the Manure
One of the drawbacks to using sand is manure as it can no longer be pumped with traditional pumps or flow by gravity. Two challenges for separating manure from sand is finding equipment that operates at low speeds but can still handle the abrasiveness of sand, and the fact that sand settles. Sand-laden manure can’t be put into tanks and often require extra agitation to fully suspend tank contents.
Separation can be accomplished either by using non-mechanical sand lanes that rely on gravity, or a Sand-Manure Separator which is mechanical and based on mining-duty technology to wash the sand.
A sand separation system can save you in time and money. It reduces the time it takes to dewater the sand, and can clean out the dirty water and organics. The sand is also able to be removed from the sand lane and dumped directly into a hopper, cutting out time and labour expenses.
Concrete sand may be more expensive than other types but it’s possible to capture 95% of it for reuse by using the right machinery, saving you money in the long run. Sand recovery can even be high enough for anaerobic digestion.
An Agricultural Sand Dewatering Screen is an integral part of your sand-manure separation system. Discharged sand has a 12% moisture content, which is classified as “drip-free” and is reusable in one week. If you want your sand even drier you can use a Bedding Drier, which can be fuelled by the biogas of your digester and removes all moisture and pathogens.
Ultimately, we know that you want the best for your cows. Eagle Direct can help you with this, by assessing the needs of your farm and helping you find the right equipment. One size doesn’t fit all which is why there are multiple sizes for the McLanahan machinery. Eagle Direct can help you find the one that works best with your herd size, required hours of service and system type. If you want to know more, register for our upcoming webinar or click the button below to get in touch.