July 2, 2012
Deep-Bedded Manure Management and Storage Systems Promote Cattle Comfort and Health
The manure management and storage system in your cattle confinement facility will impact the total project cost cattle health and labor required…and thusly profitability. Though many approaches have been implemented most producers install a solid floor (concrete or a combination of concrete and either clay or lime) referred to as a deep-bedded system or deep pits with slats overtop.
In a deep-bedded facility corn stalks or other bedding material are periodically placed in resting areas for the cattle so that a mixture of bedding and manure build up in a mound which is compacted as the cattle’s weight increases. Before deciding for or against the deep-bedded manure management and storage system factors to consider are: labor equipment and bedding as well as cattle comfort and health.
Labor: Labor requirements include the time needed to handle the bedding and scrape and spread the manure. Though it can vary substantially typically beef producers estimate the labor on a 1000 head facility taking between 1-1.5 full-time workers.
Equipment: All feedlots confinement or outside will require an investment in equipment. In a deep-bedded system a payloader or a skid-steer loader and manure spreader are required.
Bedding: With regard to bedding material some producers have access to low-cost bedding such as straw or corn stalks while others have difficulty finding an adequate bedding material supply. This is an important consideration.
Cattle comfort and health: A deep-bedded system is a proven method of raising cattle in an environment that is conducive to good cattle comfort and health. The bedded mound is a warm soft place for them to lie down in the winter sun and a soft shaded place for them to lie down in the heat of the summer.