Loose housing systems with straw in Germany E15
Hörning, B. & Gaio, C.
University of Kassel (GhK), Faculty of Agriculture, International Rural Development and Environmental Protection, Section: Farm Animal Behaviour and Management, D-37213 Witzenhausen
|In the last years the number of bedded loose
housing systems for dairy cows in Germany have increased. An evaluation of questionnaires
of 215 farms has been done to receive information about these new housing systems. 47.6%
are organic farms and 52.4% conventional. The mean number of cows per farm is 41.5. Of the
farms 37.2% had cubicle houses with solid floors, either liquid (CHL) or solid manure
(CHS), 39.1% straw yards (SY) and 20.0% bedded sloped floors (SF). SY, SF and CHS had less
grassland (43.8%) and their cows are more pastured (86.4%) than CHL (55.8% resp. 56.4%).
The mean amount of straw is 0.8 kg/cow/day in CHL, 3.3kg in CHS, 5.0 kg in SF, and 7.1 kg
in SY. 57.4% of farmers make partly or completely use of existing buildings. 79.2% of
farmers spread bedding by hand, 20.8% by machine. The mean frequency of adding new bedding
was 0.60 times a day in CHL, 1.14 in SY, 1.35 in CHS and 1.71 in SF. 48.0% of farmers are
cleaning the passages by tractor and 42.7% by mechanical scrapers. In the latter the mean
frequency of cleaning is higher (3.9/day) than in those with tractors (1.4/day). 29.8% of
the herds are not dehorned, 83.6% herds with horns are on organic farms. 67.0% of organic
and 33.5% of conventional farms had outdoor paved exercise yards.The mean satisfaction
rate with the housing system was 1.65 (1 = very satisfied, 5 = not satisfied), without
differences between housing system or agricultural management.
To get more information about the suitability of these new housing systems a field research on 100 organic or conventional farms is done. Economic parameters (investment and labour requirements, and yield) and appropriateness of housing system for the animals needs are the focus of interest. Preliminary results of 65 farms show, that organic farms had a higher degree of appropriateness (69.4 on average of a maximum of 120 points) than conventional farms (51.3 points). Further results of this investigation will be presented.
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