Wood chip bedding
It is now an excellent time to consider wood chip bedding as an alternative source.
Wood chip absorbs 2.54 times its weight in water, similar to straw.
As it turns out, according to some research, wood chip can be used as an economical alternative to straw bedding for beef cattle. What’s more, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions during the manure handling process while using an absorbent layer of bedding that will keep your animals comfortable and clean.
Historically straw has been used as bedding to cover footing area for livestock. Since it has also been used as a source of food, it only made sense to order in bulk to cover both needs. However, farm owners are looking into some alternatives this year as the prices of straw grow fast. It is now an excellent time to consider wood chip as an alternative bedding source.
UK experience of using wood chip bedding
This new idea of using wood chip as bedding for livestock is getting some traction in Ireland. Moorepark farmers tested 25cm thick layers of wood chip that turned out to retain the required level of moisture. There are some other examples from across the UK which prove that a 10cm layer will suffice as well provided that it is topped up every week or 10 days. It is worth noting that the moisture content of wood chip should be around 20% to achieve optimal results.
“Wood chip produces little to no dust and allows livestock to remain clean.”
Optimal bedding characteristics:
A dry, cushioned bedding that will encourage your animal to rest is a good solution as it will increase productivity of the animal.
Ensure that your wood chip has no chemicals or sharp objects. Again, choosing premium wood chip over regular one will help you keep your animals in good health and do them no harm. Ideal for resting conditions.
Moisture level will impact microbial activity in the bedding so you should use a premium wood chip that has 20% moisture level.
The smaller the particles, the quicker bacterial growth so before you decide to buy some wood chip, it’s best to consult an account manager who can advise you before choosing what type of wood chip to acquire.