Separation of slurry simplifies its storage by removing a large proportion of the fibrous matter leaving it as a stackable solid material and a free-flowing liquid for easy and more beneficial application to land.
Because of its abundance and low cost, the separated material referred to as green bedding can be generously applied to cubicles. A deep bed of green bedding or applying green bedding on to mats will keep mats dry, cows clean and will reduce hock abrasion.
Replacing bought in bedding products with the green bedding will reduce the total volume of slurry produced on the farm.
Without any further treatment this stackable solid material, direct from the separator, is being used on a number of Irish and UK farms for bedding cubicles. However, the results of using the green bedding, direct from the separator, have given mixed results with some farms finding increases in somatic cell counts.
To tackle the challenge of reducing bacteria levels in the green bedding prior to using on the cubicles, the Spanish company Segales have pioneered and patented a relatively inexpensive treatment that eliminates virtually all pathogens from the separated solids before using it on the cubicles.
The Segales treatment involves intermitting blowing of air through the pile of separated solids for 5 days. The temperature of the pile is monitored by a probe in the pile. The temperature of the pile will be maintained at over 65°c for the 5 days thus killing 99% of pathogens in the separated slurry. After 5 days, this now sanitized material can be placed in the cubicles.
I visited a 180 cow farm in Galicia, North-West Spain. Average milk production over 14,000 litres or >1,000 kg of milk solids
Pau Frexier explains the mechanics of the Segales separators system and the patented secondary treatment of the dried manure before it is put on the cubicles for bedding the cows.
The use of green bedding complies with Bord Bia requirement "that bedding must be maintained in a manner that provides for a comfortable clean environment suitable for milking animals.”