By DOUG GRAVES
WOOSTER, Ohio — Liquid manure systems is the norm for most dairy farmers; now there is an alternative management system that will help improve cow health, minimize manure handling costs and reduce potential environmental impacts.
Hosted by the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), a workshop on such compost bedded pack dairy barns will be Dec. 5 in OARDC’s Fisher Auditorium on Madison Avenue in Wooster. This same program will be offered in Tennessee on Dec. 12 and in Kentucky on Dec. 13.
“There’s increased interest in the compost bedded pack system because of its potential for positive impacts on milk production and cow health, and its ability to handle manure as a dry material,” said Lingying Zhao, an associate professor of food, agriculture and biological engineering at Ohio State University and one of the event’s speakers.
Zhao added possible benefits of the system also include less environmental risk from the animals’ manure and lower costs to handle it.
According to Zhao, OSU and University of Kentucky (UK) researchers have conducted preliminary research to analyze design and management recommendations and document current practices, evaluate milk production, animal health, indoor air quality and manure handling of the bedded pack dairy system.
Also speaking at the workshop will be experts from OSU’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UK, the University of Tennessee and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Dr. Joseph Taraba, extension professor with UK’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, will lecture on manure management challenges of liquid systems and provide an overview of the compost bedded pack system. He will discuss quality of compost and bedding issues. Dr. Jeffery Bewley of the UK Department of Animal and Food Sciences will address cow, focused management, performance and milk quality considerations. Dr. Peter Krawczel of UT will talk about cow behavior and health in compost dairy barns.
Amanda Douridas, program coordinator for Environmental Management at OSU, will speak about the economics of traditional and compost dairy systems. Zhao will address indoor air quality and compost barns.
Also on the program will be a panel discussion by dairy farmers who have used compost bedded pack systems, who will share their experiences. The farmers on the Dec. 5 panel will be Richard Indoe of Richman Farms in Lodi, Ohio; Alan Kozak, Clover Patch Dairy in Millersburg; and Nathan Goodell, Goodell Family Farms, Mantua.
“The workshop will help dairy producers make knowledge-based decisions when considering adoption of the compost bedded pack system for profitable and sustainable dairy operations,” Zhao said.
The Dec. 5 workshop will be from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in OARDC’s Fisher Auditorium, 1680 Madison Ave., in Wooster, Ohio. The Dec. 12 program will be in the UT Plant Biotechnology Building in Knoxville. The Dec. 13 workshop will be at the Christian County office of the UK Cooperative Extension Service in Hopkinsville.
Registration is $30. For more on the workshops at any of the locations and for a full list of topics and speakers, go to www.go.osu.edu/QR2 or call 614-292-6625.