Health Impacts and Economics of Using Dried Manure Solids in the Northeast
Schwarz, Mary; Bonhotal, Jean
Six farms using different types of dried manure solid (DMS) strategies, including a farm that had side-by-side pens using sand and DMS, participated in a study to assess the impact on herd health of using DMS as bedding on dairy farms in the Northeast. Samples of unused and used bedding were taken over the course of a year and analyzed for bacterial content and physical properties. Mastitis and somatic cell count (SCC) records were analyzed in relation to those properties. Although mastitis differed among farm/bedding strategies (FBS), bacteria levels and properties of bedding had no effect on mastitis incidence. Lactation number, stage of lactation and SCC were the significant variables. Decreased levels of Klebsiella in the used bedding increased the odds of having an abnormal SCC for one FBS, and decreased moisture and fine particles in the used bedding increased the odds of having an abnormal SCC for a different FBS. For all others, abnormal cell counts were affected only by season, lactation number and milk production. Economic analysis showed a savings of between 1 and 26 cents per hundred weight of milk produced through the use of manure solids as bedding on five farms. This study suggests that properly managed DMS can provide an economic benefit without compromising herd health.
Ninth Annual Fall Dairy Conference
dried manure solids; dairy farms; bedding; mastitis; compost; SCC; economic benefit