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Natures Packaging
Wednesday 12 December 2018

How is Wood Bedding for Cattle Different from Straw?

Posted at 12:36 PM in

How is Wood Bedding for Cattle Different from Straw?

If you have ever wondered about the difference between pack bedded barns that use straw and those that use wood shavings, this article from the University of Wisconsin – Madison Dairyland Initiative gives a lot of information, plus some of the science behind it. 

Excerpt from the article:

Compost barns are managed very differently than traditional bedded packs since they typically utilize dry fine wood sawdust or shavings as a bedding material. The fine particles are necessary to improve mixing and aeration. Straw, cornstalks, and green or wet shavings are not recommended. Initially, 12 to 18 inches (31 to 46 cm) of dry fine wood shavings are placed on the floor. Fresh bedding is added at intervals dependent on weather conditions, stocking rates, and cow hygiene scores. Most importantly, the bed is aerated at least twice daily. Producers utilize a cultivator mounted on a skid-steer or a tractor-mounted rototiller to stir the bed to a depth of 8 to 12 inches (20 to 31 cm). Cultivation incorporates manure and urine below the surface and aerates the pack, which speeds up microbial breakdown and composting. There is some debate as to whether the pack truly achieves temperatures of greater than 140 °F (60 °C). To date, available data suggests the average temperature is 108 °F (42 degrees °C), meaning the bedding material is only partially composted.

The bed may be removed once or twice per year (spring and fall or fall only), depending on the availability of land and the building design.

Read the rest of the article

We know that moisture levels need to be low in bedding made from wood shavings. By using recycled pallet wood that has been naturally dried through time and use, our wood mulch is much drier than some other products. All nails are removed in a 7-step process when the wood is shredded in the Rotochopper. This means the bedding is clean, dry and safe for cattle to use. If you'd like to learn more about a delivery of Hay Creek mulch shavings for your barn, please contact us! (715) 884-2930