Sand losses out the pens in barn with free-stall housing system
¹University Federal of Uberlândia, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnology, #1720, Pará Avenue – Campus Umuarama – Uberlândia, MG – ZIP CODE: 38400–902, Brazil
²Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Department of Production Management and Engineering, 164 Nowoursynowska str., PL 02-787 Warsaw, Poland
Proper sand management can be a critical aspect in the selection and successful use of sand as a bedding material for dairy cows. In many regions and countries, use of sand as a bedding material is considered as a useful alternative solution in dairy farms, where non-organic matter can serve as an equivalent of straw and other organic materials, e.g. sawdust. Assessment of sand management in the barn with dairy cows involves numerous problems, such as sand consumption, frequency of filling in the sand, quality of sand, as well as cows’ response to comfort conditions created by lying stalls covered with sand. This paper presents results of some investigations concerning sand losses in the barn with dairy cows. In practice, sand consumption is a result of natural occurrences, when cows leave lying stalls. Moreover, part of sand, together with faeces, is taken out of the stall when the lying area is handled by persons responsible for cleanliness and hygiene in the stall. This paper indicates, based on the authors’ own observations and investigations, that an improper construction of lying stalls can result in the increased losses of the sand in the barn, which translates into financial losses. In addition, a number of methods of measurement, together with the details of the structure of sand losses in the barn with a free-stall housing system, were presented. The discussion develops the issue of effective use of sand as a bedding material in the barn with dairy cows, including the need to use technical equipment in order to keep the barn floors clean and ensure the cows’ comfort.