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Technical and Economical Analysis of Manure Management in Loose Housing Systems for Dairy Cows

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Sixth International Dairy Housing Conference Proceeding, 16-18 June 2007, (Minneapolis, Minnesota) (Electronic Only)  701P0507e.(doi:10.13031/2013.22808)
Authors:   Matteo (or initial) Barbari, Paolo Ferrari, Paolo Rossi
Keywords:   Dairy farms, housing, bedding, dairy wastes, management, cost analysis

Manure management affects work organization, costs, hygiene and animal welfare on dairy farms; for this reason new cowsheds should be planned according to specific conditions and requirements of farms by comparing technical and economical performances for different manure management systems. The main aim of the research was to improve housing systems and manure management in dairy farms in order to favor better conditions of welfare and hygiene of cows, to reduce costs of dairy farms and to produce solid manure. Most dairy farms in Emilia--Romagna need to produce solid and liquid manure instead of semi--solid manure for agronomic and environmental reasons. Hygienic conditions of milking cows were monitored in eleven reference dairy farms. Costs of building, equipment, labor, electric usage, machines and litter were calculated and compared for nine standard cowsheds with different lying areas and manure management. Cows skin dirtiness is higher in cowsheds with deep bedded and sloped bedded lying areas than in cubicle cowsheds even if the consumption of bedding is higher. In cubicle cowsheds acceptable hygienic conditions for cows cannot be achieved by avoiding the use of bedding or synthetic mattresses. Cubicles with litter and cleaning with automatic scrapers or tractor mounted scraper show low costs for manure management and low cow dirtiness scores. Cubicles with small use of litter, gravity flushing system and mechanical separator can be advisable for large herds.

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