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Rise of the Super Dairy

29 March 2017

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America’s farms have been merging at a steady pace over the course of the past three decades. In the United States, there has been a shift from the small family dairy farm to dairies that will milk several hundreds to even thousands of cows per day. These aptly named “Super Dairies” benefit from their size and can deliver dairy products at a lower cost than their smaller counterparts.  With milk prices rebounding and inputs such as feed at all-time highs, super dairies are looking to capitalize on any opportunity to increase productivity, lower input costs, and reduce downtime.

Sand has long been considered the best type of cow-stall bedding for a variety of reasons. Because of the increased level of comfort that sand offers, cows are more productive and less likely to suffer from lameness. The benefits don’t end there, thanks to the lack of organic material within the sand and the fact that it doesn’t retain moisture well; the risk of mastitis is greatly reduced.  This keeps the cows healthy and producing.

While the benefits of sand are easy to see, there is one aspect that keeps sand from being a viable solution in many dairies: maintenance.  Sand is more costly than other, more readily available materials so any sand that is lost through manure disposal adds up to be a substantial expense. Recycling the sand combines the advantages of sand bedding with the low costs that other types of bedding offer.

CDEnviro specializes in equipment that can recycle 85% or more of the sand to be reused as bedding. Through a mechanical separation process, sand- which is bound in the manure - is "harvested".  Not only can this sand safely be reused, the separated manure is more efficient in applications such as anaerobic digestion and composting.  In an environment where input costs have a greater effect on the bottom line, it only makes sense to address this problem that is so costly to dairy farmers.

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