You’ve probably heard of Compost Barn. It is an installation system in open space, which prioritizes animal comfort. This system is booming in the country and you can see some of its advantages below. Check out.
The Compost Barn system appeared in the mid-1980s in the United States with the aim of offering more comfort to the animal in confinement. It is derived from the “litter pack” (or, loosely translated, “overlay litter system”), which serves as a physical barrier between the cow and the manure.
In the Compost Barn, animals are kept in a covered shed, with a collective bedding area. There is a space for free circulation, with a ventilation system to eliminate the heat produced by the compost and the animals. In this model, there is a concern for both thermal comfort and the welfare of dairy cattle.
This containment system arrived in Brazil in mid-2001 and reconciles the balance between production and the environment, thanks to the actions of microorganisms that use organic matter as substrate. Cow feces and urine provide essential nutrients for the composting process to take place.
For the process to be carried out with the desired effectiveness, it is necessary that there is constant maintenance in the levels of oxygen, water, temperature and organic matter. This favors the production of heat to dry the material and reduces the proliferation of pathogenic microorganisms. To do this, turning the substrate twice a day is a fundamental operation to maintain the quality of aerobic fermentation, that is, it uses oxygen, maintaining the quality of the substrate and therefore animal health.
This practice reduces disease rates, especially those related to the hoof and mammary glands. Compost Barn increases the welfare of cattle and generates less expense in the disposal of milk and medicines, since the cattle are less likely to have health problems. In addition, with the popularization of the model in recent years, there has been a reduction in implementation and maintenance costs, making it more accessible to small and medium producers.
Commonly used substrates for the composting barn are: sawdust, wood chips, and wood scraps. Producers have also innovated and tested other substrates such as coffee husks and other dry organic materials.
Advantages: healthier cattle
Compost Barn provides greater control over animal nutrition. Therefore, a good diet combined with a great mixer helps to maintain a balance in health, which has a direct impact on increasing production. This system also guarantees the reduction of flies and ticks, since it kills the larvae of these insects during fermentation. Due to the absence of soil in the shed, ticks have a difficult time completing their life cycle.
In this model it is common to reduce hoof problems, since the cows have more space to move and lie down. In addition, when standing, the animals remain on a soft surface, with the improvement of the hooves, the animals that are in the compost barn more easily show heat, which improves the detection rate by the keepers. Thus, this system also optimizes the control of the reproductive cycle of the animals.
Higher milk production and higher quality
Another consequence that can be listed is the improvement in milk quality, since there is a reduction in somatic cells (CCS) and a lower incidence of mastitis. This fact can be explained both by the better hygiene of dairy cattle before milking, and by the improvement of their immune system.
By combining this confinement model with a quality and controlled feed throughout the total ration, producers will undoubtedly notice a significant increase in milk production. This is because, with a balanced and homogeneous mixture, without being able to select what they eat, the animals guarantee all the necessary nutrients for maximum milk production.
Therefore, the feed mixer is also essential to the success of your Compost Barn. Even if there is an investment in quality components and a balanced recipe, a wrong mix will result in uneven nutrient consumption by livestock. What directly affects the production of milk both in quantity and quality, in addition to harming the health of the animal.
Using a high quality total feed mixer like Casale’s will provide higher solids milk. With higher fat and protein, which allows a discount on the price of milk in some dairy products.
Compost Barn, for many growers, is advantageous due to its low initial investment cost compared to the free stall method. Still in comparison, in Compost Barn there is no need to invest in a litter washing system used (and its respective operating costs), since the substrate itself allows the comfort of the animals. In addition, after fermentation, the substrate is used for organic fertilizer, which greatly influences the total cost of ownership, as there are great savings in fertilizers.
Machinery necessary for greater profitability in Compost Barn
In addition to the aforementioned total feed mixer, necessary to ensure a balanced and homogeneous diet, there are other factors that influence it. Some other machinery is important for Compost Barn to reach its maximum sustainable and economic efficiency.
It is very important to use specific machinery to aerate the substrate, such as the scarifier, twice a day or according to depth measurements of 25 to 30 cm (it can reach up to 40 cm). The scarifier must not touch the ground. When there is a mix with the bed, you can create an adobe and the bed is compacted.
From time to time it is necessary to change all the substrate used in Compost Barn, with this, your farm will have an excellent fertilizer for your crops. In this way, a cycle is closed and there is a great cost reduction in silage production. Since the highly nutritious organic matter will be used for soil fertilization after fermentation with animal feces and urine.
Some producers use machines designed to distribute limestone in this operation, which is not economically advantageous. This option brings a great operational cost, since it distributes in narrow ranges and slowly, which reduces the useful life of the equipment and does not guarantee homogeneity in the distribution.
For this operation there are specialized machines such as the Casale LEC, which guarantees distribution with a low operating cost. This machine can distribute in a range of up to 12 meters wide and with great agility and greater homogeneity in the distribution on the ground. Thus, count on Casale’s Manure and Organic Compound Distributors line, the LEC line, which has the longest useful life, also because it is hot-dip galvanized and has the lowest operating cost in the market.
To increase financial results and with greater environmental sustainability in your Compost Barn, investing in appropriate technologies is very important. Count on Casale for machines that help you have a better feed conversion, with greater nutritional efficiency and a consequent increase in your production and economic results of your property.
If you want to know more about our mixers, manure and organics distributors or any other Casale agricultural implement, please complete the following form. Our consultants will contact you.