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Alternatives to straw suit beef and dairy alike

For affordable alternatives to bedding straw, some beef and dairy farmers are turning to dried paper material instead.

For beef cattle, dry cows and dairy replacements in loose housing, some farmers are using a deep bed of EnviroBed Original, made from 100% dried recycled paper. Others with some straw available place a 15-20cm layer of paper bedding on the floor and top it off with straw.

Either way, EnviroBed products are 95% dry matter, very high absorbency and mildly alkaline 7.4 pH, helping create a dry and comfortable area that is unfavourable to disease organisms and fly eggs. Where used with some straw in loose housing, they help keep the bed dry and hygienic much longer than straw alone…and rather lower cost too.

They are biodegradeable and compatible with all manure systems. For cubicles, different specifications are available to suit deep beds with earth, concrete or sand bases, or as a surface dressing for mats, mattresses and water beds. For these, the usual material of choice is EnviroBed Premium, a blend of dried paper and kiln dried virgin wood sawdust.

In addition to good cow comfort and cleanliness, a development being reported this autumn is quicker milking after a change of cubicle bedding. This comes about because clean teats on clean cows need little pre-milking preparation.

Per cubicle, the recommended daily quantity and cost of EnviroBed Premium are just 1kg at less than 10p.

Farmers also report saving time by only bedding up two to three times a week, while maintaining cow cleanliness and comfort.

Guidance how to use EnviroBed products in your particular system is available from our farm support team on 01772 860085.