Feasibility of Miscanthus as alternative bedding for dairy cows

https://doi.org/10.17221/8059-VETMEDCitation:Van Weyenberg S., Ulens T., De Reu K., Zwertvaegher I., Demeyer P., Pluym L. (2015): Feasibility of Miscanthus as alternative bedding for dairy cows. Veterinarni Medicina, 60: 121-132.
download PDF
Despite dairy farmers’ awareness of the importance of correct bedding for the health and comfort of their cows, they are often frugal with respect to these bedding materials in order to reduce costs. In addition, farmers are currently dependent on the availability and price fluctuations of traditional bedding materials. For these reasons, the scientific literature as well as the trade press point to an intensifying search for affordable alternative bedding materials. The aim of this study was to investigate whether Miscanthus, a woody grass that requires low input but generates high yield, could replace straw in deep little dairy cow cubicles. The cows’ cubicles were lined for two consecutive 14-day periods with straw/chalk/water bedding, followed by two consecutive 14-day periods with ground-Miscanthus/chalk bedding. No significant differences were found in the following parameters: loss/waste of bedding material, bacterial growth in cubicles, cow skin lesions (except for carpus lesions), cow cleanliness or cow comfort. Dust concentrations measured as PM10 were higher when cubicles were filled with straw-based bedding, but never exceeded workspace quality safety limits. Based on these results, one can conclude that Miscanthus has potential as a viable alternative to straw when used as a bedding material. On-farm cultivation of Miscanthus may increase dairy farmer self-sufficiency and could reduce bedding costs.
Breum NO, Nielsen BH, Lyngbye M, Midtgard U (1999): Dustiness of chopped straw as affected by lignosulfonate as a dust suppressant. Annales of Agriculture and Environmental Medicine 6, 133–140.
Bruijnis M. R. N., Hogeveen H., Stassen E. N. (2013): Measures to improve dairy cow foot health: consequences for farmer income and dairy cow welfare. animal, 7, 167-175  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731112001383
Bullard M (1999): Miscanthus agronomy (for fuel and industrial uses). Technical Report NF0403. Accessed from: http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/crops/industrial/research/research.htm.
Bullard M (2001): Economics of Miscanthus production. In: Jones MB, Walsh M (eds.): Miscanthus for Energy and Fibre, London James and James (Science Publicers).
Calamari Luigi, Calegari Ferdinando, Stefanini Luigi (2009): Effect of different free stall surfaces on behavioural, productive and metabolic parameters in dairy cows. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 120, 9-17  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2009.05.013
Cambra-López María, Aarnink André J.A., Zhao Yang, Calvet Salvador, Torres Antonio G. (2010): Airborne particulate matter from livestock production systems: A review of an air pollution problem. Environmental Pollution, 158, 1-17  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2009.07.011
Chaplin S.J, Tierney G, Stockwell C, Logue D.N, Kelly M (2000): An evaluation of mattresses and mats in two dairy units. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 66, 263-272  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0168-1591(99)00100-8
Cook Nigel B., Nordlund Kenneth V. (2009): The influence of the environment on dairy cow behavior, claw health and herd lameness dynamics. The Veterinary Journal, 179, 360-369  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2007.09.016
Cook N.B., Bennett T.B., Nordlund K.V. (2005): Monitoring Indices of Cow Comfort in Free-Stall-Housed Dairy Herds. Journal of Dairy Science, 88, 3876-3885  https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(05)73073-3
DANALATOS N, ARCHONTOULIS S, MITSIOS I (2007): Potential growth and biomass productivity of Miscanthus×giganteus as affected by plant density and N-fertilization in central Greece. Biomass and Bioenergy, 31, 145-152  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2006.07.004
DEFRA (2001): A review of the potential of giant grasses for U.K. agriculture. Research and Develoment – Final Project Report NF0419. Accessed from http://www.defra.gov.uk/research/project_data.
Dodd F., Higgs T., Bramley A. (1984): Cubicle management and coliform mastitis. Veterinary Record, 114, 522-523  https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.114.21.522
Dolejs J, Masata O, Toufar O (2006): Elimination of dust production from stables for dairy cows. Czech Journal of Animal Science 51, 305–310.
Fisher A.D, Verkerk G.A, Morrow C.J, Matthews L.R (2002): The effects of feed restriction and lying deprivation on pituitary–adrenal axis regulation in lactating cows. Livestock Production Science, 73, 255-263  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0301-6226(01)00246-9
Fregonesi J.A., Veira D.M., von Keyserlingk M.A.G., Weary D.M. (2007): Effects of Bedding Quality on Lying Behavior of Dairy Cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 90, 5468-5472  https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2007-0494
Heo Hyeon Su, Park Hyun Ju, Yim Jin-Heong, Sohn Jung Min, Park Junhong, Kim Seung-Soo, Ryu Changkook, Jeon Jong-Ki, Park Young-Kwon (2010): Influence of operation variables on fast pyrolysis of Miscanthus sinensis var. purpurascens. Bioresource Technology, 101, 3672-3677  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2009.12.078
Hogan JS, Smith KL (1997): Bacteria counts in sawdust bedding. Journal of Dairy Science 80(8), 1600–1605.
Huisman W., Kortleve W.J. (1994): Mechanization of crop establishment, harvest, and post-harvest conservation of Miscanthus sinensis Giganteus. Industrial Crops and Products, 2, 289-297  https://doi.org/10.1016/0926-6690(94)90120-1
Jeżowski Stanisław (2008): Yield traits of six clones of Miscanthus in the first 3 years following planting in Poland. Industrial Crops and Products, 27, 65-68  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indcrop.2007.07.013
Joo H.S., Ndegwa P.M., Heber A.J., Ni J.-Q., Bogan B.W., Ramirez-Dorronsoro J.C., Cortus E.L. (2013): Particulate matter dynamics in naturally ventilated freestall dairy barns. Atmospheric Environment, 69, 182-190  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2012.12.006
Khanna Madhu, Dhungana Basanta, Clifton-Brown John (2008): Costs of producing miscanthus and switchgrass for bioenergy in Illinois. Biomass and Bioenergy, 32, 482-493  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2007.11.003
Kudi Ayuba Caleb, Bray M. P., Niba Aziwo. T., Kalla Demo. J.U. (2009): Mastitis Causing Pathogens within the Dairy Cattle Environment. International Journal of Biology, 1, -  https://doi.org/10.5539/ijb.v1n1p3
Metz J.H.M. (1985): The reaction of cows to a short-term deprivation of lying. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 13, 301-307  https://doi.org/10.1016/0168-1591(85)90010-3
Munksgaard L., Ingvartsen K. L., Pedersen L. J., Nielsen V. K. M. (1999): Deprivation of Lying Down Affects Behaviour and Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Responses in Young Bulls. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A - Animal Science, 49, 172-178  https://doi.org/10.1080/090647099424088
Munksgaard L., Rushen J., de Passillé A.M., Krohn C.C. (2011): Forced versus free traffic in an automated milking system. Livestock Science, 138, 244-250  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2010.12.023
Muylle H, Snauwaert E (2012): Energy crops in Flanders: 4. Heat from Miscanthus (in German). Proceedings Open Energy, March 2, 2012, Flanders, Belgium.
Qin J, Yang Y, Jiang J, Yi Z, Xiao L, Ai X, Chen Z (2012): Comparison of lignocellolose composition in four major species of Miscanthus. African Journal of Biotechnology 11, 12529–12537.
Regula G., Danuser J., Spycher B., Wechsler B. (2004): Health and welfare of dairy cows in different husbandry systems in Switzerland. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 66, 247-264  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2004.09.004
Reich L.J., Weary D.M., Veira D.M., von Keyserlingk M.A.G. (2010): Effects of sawdust bedding dry matter on lying behavior of dairy cows: A dose-dependent response. Journal of Dairy Science, 93, 1561-1565  https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2009-2713
Rendos J.J., Eberhart R.J., Kesler E.M. (1975): Microbial Populations of Teat Ends of Dairy Cows, and Bedding Materials. Journal of Dairy Science, 58, 1492-1500  https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(75)84740-0
Samadi Sadegh, van Eerdenburg Frank J C M, Jamshidifard Ali-Reza, Otten Giovanna P, Droppert Marijke, Heederik Dick J J, Wouters Inge M (): The influence of bedding materials on bio-aerosol exposure in dairy barns. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, 22, 361-368  https://doi.org/10.1038/jes.2012.25
Sampimon OC, Sol J, Kock PA (2006): An outbreak of Klebsiella pneumoniae mastitis (in German). Tijdschrift voor Diergeneeskunde 131, 2–4.
Schmidt DR, Jacobsen LD, Janni KA (2012): Continuous monitoring of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and dust emissions from swine, dairy and poultry barns. ASAE Paper No. 024060, ASAE, St. Joseph, USA.
Schulze Westerath H., Gygax L., Mayer C., Wechsler B. (2007): Leg lesions and cleanliness of finishing bulls kept in housing systems with different lying area surfaces. The Veterinary Journal, 174, 77-85  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2006.05.010
Scurlock JMO (ed.) (1999): Miscanthus: a review of European experience with a novel energy crop. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge. 1–12.
Styles David, Thorne Fiona, Jones Michael B. (2008): Energy crops in Ireland: An economic comparison of willow and Miscanthus production with conventional farming systems. Biomass and Bioenergy, 32, 407-421  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2007.10.012
Takai H., Pedersen S., Johnsen J.O., Metz J.H.M., Groot Koerkamp P.W.G., Uenk G.H., Phillips V.R., Holden M.R., Sneath R.W., Short J.L., White R.P., Hartung J., Seedorf J., Schröder M., Linkert K.H., Wathes C.M. (1998): Concentrations and Emissions of Airborne Dust in Livestock Buildings in Northern Europe. Journal of Agricultural Engineering Research, 70, 59-77  https://doi.org/10.1006/jaer.1997.0280
Tucker CB, Weary DM (2004): Bedding on geotextile mattresses: How much is needed to improve cow comfort? Journal of Dairy Science 87, 2889–2895.
Tucker C.B., Weary D.M., von Keyserlingk M.A.G., Beauchemin K.A. (2009): Cow comfort in tie-stalls: Increased depth of shavings or straw bedding increases lying time. Journal of Dairy Science, 92, 2684-2690  https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2008-1926
van Gastelen S., Westerlaan B., Houwers D.J., van Eerdenburg F.J.C.M. (2011): A study on cow comfort and risk for lameness and mastitis in relation to different types of bedding materials. Journal of Dairy Science, 94, 4878-4888  https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2010-4019
Van Soest P.J., Robertson J.B., Lewis B.A. (1991): Methods for Dietary Fiber, Neutral Detergent Fiber, and Nonstarch Polysaccharides in Relation to Animal Nutrition. Journal of Dairy Science, 74, 3583-3597  https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(91)78551-2
Verbist B., Piessens V., Van Nuffel A., De Vuyst L., Heyndrickx M., Herman L., Van Coillie E., De Vliegher S. (2011): Sources other than unused sawdust can introduce Klebsiella pneumoniae into dairy herds. Journal of Dairy Science, 94, 2832-2839  https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2010-3700
Ververis C., Georghiou K., Christodoulakis N., Santas P., Santas R. (2004): Fiber dimensions, lignin and cellulose content of various plant materials and their suitability for paper production. Industrial Crops and Products, 19, 245-254  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indcrop.2003.10.006
Vokey F.J., Guard C.L., Erb H.N., Galton D.M. (2001): Effects of Alley and Stall Surfaces on Indices of Claw and Leg Health in Dairy Cattle Housed in a Free-Stall Barn. Journal of Dairy Science, 84, 2686-2699  https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(01)74723-6
Weary D.M., Taszkun I. (2000): Hock Lesions and Free-Stall Design. Journal of Dairy Science, 83, 697-702  https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(00)74931-9
Wechsler Beat, Schaub Jasmin, Friedli Katharina, Hauser Rudolf (2000): Behaviour and leg injuries in dairy cows kept in cubicle systems with straw bedding or soft lying mats. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 69, 189-197  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0168-1591(00)00134-9
Zdanowicz M., Shelford J.A., Tucker C.B., Weary D.M., von Keyserlingk M.A.G. (2004): Bacterial Populations on Teat Ends of Dairy Cows Housed in Free Stalls and Bedded with Either Sand or Sawdust. Journal of Dairy Science, 87, 1694-1701  https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(04)73322-6
download PDF

© 2019 Czech Academy of Agricultural Sciences