26.07.2018 | The advantages of Axpo compost bedding

Happy cows, happy farmer

For just about a year, Esther and Peter Jampen have been using stall bedding produced by Axpo Biomasse and Axpo Tegra in their cow barn. They are very happy about how well the cows are doing and that there's a lot less work to do in the barn. 

A clean barn: no nasty smells, no rotting straw on the ground. The different beef cattle breeds such as Angus, Brown Swiss, and Simmental are doing really well on the farm in Hittnau in the Zurich Oberland. The barn floor is covered with compost bedding. "We've been using this bedding for about a year and since then we almost never have cows with swollen hocks. Where the cows previously sank in up to their knees in rotting straw, they now stand on a packed surface. The calves also have more freedom of movement on this ground. Overall, the hygienic conditions have improved tremendously for the animals," says Peter Jampen.

farm profile of the Jampen family

Esther and Peter Jampen
Sunnenhof 1
Hittnau, ZH 8335

Farm size: 36 hectares
Herd: 60 mother cows, about 60 calves, 1 bull
Other segments: Beef production, hay-making, organic hay
Workforce: The couple run the farm

The well-being of the animals is the priority

The 60 mother cows and their 60 calves set the pace for Peter Jampen: In the summer, on hot days, the cows stay in the barn during the day to protect them from the hot sun; in the winter they get every ray of sunshine they can in the barnyard. The farmer's work in the barn depends on the needs of the animals, "When the cows are outside, I rake up the bedding to facilitate the fermentation process," Jampen explains. A great deal has changed for the couple within just a year. Not only are the cows doing better, so are they. "Since we started using the new bedding mixture, we only need about two to four hours a day for feeding and upkeep," says Peter Jampen. That used to be otherwise.

«A clean barn: no nasty smells, no rotting straw on the ground»
Cow manure is fermented in the barn

The compost bedding never has to be completely removed from the barn. The farmer adds new bedding as needed and according to weather conditions, or removes humus-like material. All that's needed is regular raking to give the compost bedding enough oxygen. 
Thanks to the digestate in the bedding, cow manure bonds with the material: The bedding integrates the manure at a constant temperature during the fermentation process. Through the heat generated by the fermentation process the moisture in the manure is emitted as steam into the air and the bedding stays dry. An open, well-ventilated barn is important for this process.

What are the ingredients of the Axpo compost bedding?

The bedding material is a mixture of digestate from Axpo Biomasse and fine material from dried wood chips (Secolin) from Axpo Tegra. Depending on the time of year, the mixture proportions can vary. In the summer months the mixture normally comprises less wood material than in the winter.

The digestate comes from the fermentation of green waste from towns and cities, as well as food waste, restaurant waste and animal dung.

Axpo Biomasse has been offering the product to farmers since 2015 and in doing so contributes to animal-friendly housing. The cows can rest more comfortably, and hoof and udder health is improved.

For more information on the compost bedding produced by Axpo contact Peter Knüsel (peter.knuesel@axpo.com | 071 633 16 54).

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