Compost and fermentation residues used as litter materials in dairy farming

In dairy farming, litter materials have an essential influence on health and production performance of animals and therefore, on the quality of the comestible milk. As straw has recently become an essential cost factor in dairy farming, alternative options are in demand. In this study, selected materials were tested for their hygienic-microbiological quality, i.e. compost barns, litter materials from dry fermentation residues as well as composted fermentation residues, composted garden and forest waste.

Further Author:
K. Schwarzkopf - University of Hohenheim

Representative collected composite samples from the litter materials are taken from commercial farms. From compost barns 20 collected composite samples (10 from surface and 10 in a depth of 40 cm) were taken. From fermentation residues five collected composite samples of the fresh material and five of the dry material were analyzed. These materials were not used as bedding material at the time-point of sampling. From composted fermentation residues five representative samples were taken from the cubicals equally from composted garden and forest waste. In addition, three collected composite samples were tested from this fresh compost material. All samples were quantitatively tested for coliform bacteria, enterococci, salmonellae, streptococci and staphylococci. Investigated materials showed varying results. The average bacterial numbers for E. coli and coliform bacteria in compost ranged between 105 and 106 CFU/g, respectively. In fermentation residues the numbers were considerable lower. In fresh material coliform bacteria were below the limit of detection and in dry material below 1.44 CFU/g. In used bedding material enterococci were verified in average between 103 and 105 CFU/g. In comparison, 101 CFU per gram of enterococci were found in fresh fermentation residues and 104 CFU per gram in dry fermentation residues. Salmonellae were not found in any samples. There were only a sporadically appearance of streptococci and staphylococci. In summary, the content of E. coli and enterococci was quite high in all compost material. Therefore, this material can be recommended in a limited way as litter material. The variation of the results might be due to the sampling scheme since contamination with animal’s excrements could not be avoided. Dried fermentation residues seem to be more promising, but more hygienic and microbiological analyses of the already interspersed litter material are necessary. From the view of prevention for epizootic diseases some more requirements and arrangements should be taken in account. In any case the material should be in a safe condition for reasons associated with hygienic control of epidemics. This means, that the fermentation residues should either come from a thermophilic actuated biogas plant or that the substrates are pasteurized before or the anaerobic fermentation. A separation of the fermentation residues after mesophilic digestion, followed by pasteurizing of the liquid phase and appropriate composting of the solid matter should also be possible. Beyond salmonellae, the deactivation of Mycobacterium spp., mycoplasmas and coxiella should be assured. For that purpose further research efforts are needed.

Copyright: © European Compost Network ECN e.V.
Quelle: Orbit 2012 (Juni 2012)
Seiten: 7
Preis inkl. MwSt.: € 7,00
Autor: Dr. Werner Philipp
Ludwig E. Hoelzle

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