University of Kentucky

Poster Title

Viable Alternative Bedding Materials for Compost Bedded Pack Barns

Institution

University of Kentucky

Abstract

Compost bedded pack barn use in the dairy industry is increasing in popularity throughout Kentucky and the southeastern United States. The key component for successful composting in these barns is a large open resting area that is generally bedded with sawdust. Previous research suggested sawdust or wood shavings to be the ideal bedding material due to particle size properties that enable the compost to optimally perform. These barns require three to four times the amount of bedding material that traditional freestall barns require therefore a limiting factor to barn success has become sawdust availability. This research aimed to find alternative bedding materials for use in these barns by looking at biomass byproducts of other agricultural industries. As a comparison, three popular sawdust choices were analyzed to determine benchmark goals for other materials. Materials selected were analyzed for initial moisture content, water holding capacity, drying rate and equilibrium moisture content. These characteristics were selected for their ability to provide information about the material particle size. These characteristics also provided a more complete understanding of potential in barn performance.

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Viable Alternative Bedding Materials for Compost Bedded Pack Barns

Compost bedded pack barn use in the dairy industry is increasing in popularity throughout Kentucky and the southeastern United States. The key component for successful composting in these barns is a large open resting area that is generally bedded with sawdust. Previous research suggested sawdust or wood shavings to be the ideal bedding material due to particle size properties that enable the compost to optimally perform. These barns require three to four times the amount of bedding material that traditional freestall barns require therefore a limiting factor to barn success has become sawdust availability. This research aimed to find alternative bedding materials for use in these barns by looking at biomass byproducts of other agricultural industries. As a comparison, three popular sawdust choices were analyzed to determine benchmark goals for other materials. Materials selected were analyzed for initial moisture content, water holding capacity, drying rate and equilibrium moisture content. These characteristics were selected for their ability to provide information about the material particle size. These characteristics also provided a more complete understanding of potential in barn performance.