Deep litter flooring for superior lying time
Deep litter flooring system:
The most popular choice for dairy standoffshelters, The deep litter floor is typically made up of medium to large sized wood chip, bark or post-peelings. The Deep litter materials will last for a considerable time (typically three years) when kept beneath the Redpath clear roof system making this flooring option both economic and effective to consider. Please see the woodchip flooring type guidelines below.
The Deep litter system provides a, clean and comfortable resting place for the cows to loaf and when kept dry below a clear UV transmitting roof it will offer substantially reduced incidence of disease/bacteria (mastitis) which is typically associated with outdoor litter systems or with barn designs that are dark, damp and cold. A stocking density of 7.5m³ - 9m³ per cow is recommended for the best year-round housing and litter conditions.
The deep litter is either scraped clean on a regular basis or it is stirred up and mixed to keep it friable, clean and dry.
The Redpath Deep litter system is "hoof and cow friendly" with cows being able to be stood off for long periods of time with little effect on feet, limbs, and joints. The cows are very willing to rest on the soft Deep litter whilst digesting their feed. Concrete strips laid along the outside edges of the Dairyshelter or along the sides of a central covered 'service lane" approximately 1.5m wide are usually used to drop the feed onto - a small upstand along the pole line prevents feed from being dragged into the litter and vice-versa. Drainage of the deep litter system is important, and it pays to follow the plan that Redpath supply for both the site-works and Deep litter drains. Typically this involves creating a raised building pad into which a drain flow style piping is placed below the floor line/litter. Typically there will be a minimum of one drain but sometimes up to three drains lengthways per span may be used. Another alternative is to drain the building across its width to meet a 'common side drain”, we suggest you discuss the options that best suit your site and budget with Redpath before proceeding.
Variables that affect drainage might be the surrounding groundwater levels, stocking density and depth of the litter. A non permeable membrane or clay may also be used below the round rock / gravel line on some installations so as to ensure that all effluent run off and its valuable nutrient content is caught and drained to the effluent pond.
Example of effluent nil leaching capability for Redpath Standoffshelter as calculated with help of DairyNZ:
Depth of bedding = 500mm
Standing area per cow = 7m2
Holding period: Worst case scenario = 24hr standing off
Quantity of cows = 400 for this example
400 cows x 65ltrs effluent each per day = 26,000 ltrs per day
7m2 floor area of bedding per cow = 2800m2
26,000lt/2800m2 = 9.28 ltrs of effluent per m2 (or 9.28mm deep per m2 per 24hr day)
Winter period June to September with shelter for 50% of the total 100 days = 50days x 9.28mm = 592mm potential effluent (worst case scenario)
Deduct: Evaporation of liquids allowed provided by Redpath's energy transmitting roof (includes some litter stirring to aid evaporation)
Deduct: Drying out of solids promoted by Redpath's energy transmitting roof (note , may include some litter stirring)
Deduct: Air-Movement provided by Redpaths ventilation system (roof vents / gable vents / side vents etc)
Deduct: Buffer/absorption factor provided by the soft floor chip at 500mm depth
Using these realistic figures of effluent input with conservative management (depth of litter, m2 per cow, standing off periods, evaporation and chip buffer absorption it appears that the Redpath soft floor system copes well in the North Island (we recommend 9 – 10m2 in Cooler climates such as Southland)
WOODCHIP FLOORING TYPE GUIDELINES: IMPORTANT FOR SUCCESFULL USE OF SHELTER!
Dry and large type Woodchip bedding is recommended for best performance and service life. This is due to its resistance to interlocking and improved drainage + drying ability. Avoid bark, post peelings, shavings, sawdust or straw.
If feeding straw to stock, ensure it is chopped up to limit the amount stock will drag into the bedding area.
We recommend the woodchip should be at a minimum 'matchbox' sized ‘chunky chip” or larger. Use only woodchip from log trunks. Avoid small branches, leaves, roots etc as this style of bedding can be too absorbent and become sodden. Avoid green matter from Macrocarpa.
If the woodchip is freshly chipped or “green” then it should be spread in the Standoffshelter 3 - 4 weeks before stock are introduced, The bedding should be stirred every few days during this time to ensure the bedding dries completely throughout its depth. DO NOT introduce stock onto green woodchip.
Please note the guideline cow stocking ratios vary around New Zealand. Southland 8.5 - 10m2 to Northland 7 - 8m2 per animal depending on environment, cow size, feed type, and length of time cows will be on the bedding. The correct cow ratio will ensure the bedding will last up to 3 years. If the Standoffshelter is used for longer periods than originally planned (common), then more frequent bedding replacement or a larger shelter may be required.
The bedding should be a minimum 500mm deep. It is important to stir or scrape clear the top layer of used bedding (usually in summer) and top it up with new bedding annually (100mm - 150mm) to maintain the 500mm minimum depth.
During intense stocking times stirring and aerating the bedding occasionally (sometimes weekly) with either rippers/tynes/rotary hoe etc. will help keep the bedding aerated, aerobic, dryer, cleaner, and more likely allow cows to rest / lie down.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: The shelter should be located on a raised pad above the surrounding land so that animals walk “up” into the shelter, this helps keep ground water away from the bedding area. Locate water troughs at the ends of the shelter on a concrete pad - so that water splashes/leaks drain away from the litter area.
Feed considerations when using deep litter floors:
The suggested ratio of dry matter as a % of feed is 30 -35%. Feeding less than this amount WILL have an effect of the moisture content of solids and may cause an on-going floor wetness issues when standing off cows for long periods of time, or wintering. Please check with your consultant / vet on feed mixes that will allow cost-effective 30-35% dry matter feeding when the cows are in the shelter.
See also Duraliner underfloor membrane click here
Contact Redpath for a typical drain layout option used in the deep litter system. Free Ph 0508 733 728