Sand is a cooler bedding surface than straw, which is one of the reasons why Opitz Dairy Farms, of Saukville, Wis., has chosen to use it in the maternity area from March through November. During the winter, the farm reverts back to fresh straw. Sand also requires less maintenance - at half the cost of straw, says owner Jeff Opitz. And, sand has helped the dairy solve a problem that it was having with environmental Strep mastitis. "Sand in the maternity area is finally getting us over the hump so we can consistently run at or under a 200,000 somatic cell count," he adds.