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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #327837

Title: Assessment of different bedding systems for lactating cows in freestall housing

item SU, HUAWEI - University Of Wisconsin
item ESSER, NANCY - University Of Wisconsin
item Coblentz, Wayne
item Borchardt, Mark
item Jokela, William
item AKINS, MATT - University Of Wisconsin

Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/24/2016
Publication Date: 7/19/2016
Citation: Su, H., Esser, N.M., Coblentz, W.K., Borchardt, M.A., Jokela, W.E., Akins, M.S. 2016. Assessment of different bedding systems for lactating cows in freestall housing. Journal of Dairy Science. ADSA/ASAS Joint Annual Meeting, July 19-23, 2016. Salt Lake City, UT.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to compare different bedding systems for lactating cows in freestall housing. Bedding systems included new sand (NS), recycled byproducts of manure separation (organic solids [OS] and recycled sand [RS]), and foam-core mattresses with a shallow layer of OS (MS). The experimental barn contained 128 freestalls that were divided into four equal quadrants with one bedding system for each quadrant. All animals included in this study were first lactation cows, randomly assigned to different quadrants as cows calved. This experiment was conducted between January 2014 and December 2015 with 2 periods (one calendar year for each period). Bedding systems were changed the last week of the first period. Milk yield data was recorded daily and milk samples were collected monthly for milk composition and somatic cell count (SCC). Cow's behavior, hygiene, and hock score were collected monthly. Clinical mastitis and hoof trimming cases were summarized based on veterinary records. Quadrant (pen) was considered the experimental unit with all data averaged by quadrant before analysis. Results represent 2 yr of data collection, and are presented as means ± SD (Table 1); Therefore, yearly comparisons of means are numerical only, and do not imply statistical significance. The OS and NS groups had greater milk yield compared with RS and MS groups, and the same responses were observed for energy-corrected (ECM) and fat-corrected milk (FCM). The SCC and somatic cell score (SCS) were greatest for the OS group. Cows housed in NS stalls had the greatest cow comfort and stall usage indexes. Cows in OS, NS and RS stalls were cleaner (lower flank score) than cows in MS stalls. Cows in MS stalls had the most severe hock lesions (greater hock score). Greater incidence (total cases over 2 yr) of clinical mastitis was observed for cows housed in OS freestalls. Cows housed in NS and RS stalls needed fewer hoof trimmings than cows housed in OS and MS stalls. Based on the data thus far, NS seems to be the best bedding material for lactating cows based on milk performance, behavior, hygiene, and health data.