The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) will host a workshop on compost bedded pack dairy barns on Dec. 5. The same program will be offered in Tennessee on Dec. 12 and in Kentucky on Dec. 13.
A compost bedded pack dairy barn is an alternative dairy system with solid manure handling options, said Lingying Zhao, an associate professor of food, agricultural and biological engineering at Ohio State University and one of the event’s organizers and speakers.
“There’s increased interest in the compost bedded pack system because of its potential for positive impacts on milk production and cow health and its ability to handle manure as a dry material,” Zhao said.
Possible benefits of the system also include less environmental risk from the animals’ manure and lower costs to handle it, she said.
Speaking at the workshop will be experts from Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, including OARDC and Ohio State University Extension, which are the college’s research and outreach arms, respectively; the University of Kentucky; the University of Tennessee; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Featured will be recent research findings related to building design and management, milk production and quality, cow behavior and health, compost and bedding quality, indoor air quality, ventilation, economics, and NRCS standards and cost-share programs.
Also on the program will be a panel discussion by dairy farmers who have used compost bedded pack systems and will share their experiences.
The farmers on the Dec. 5 panel will be Richard Indoe of Richman Farms, Lodi, Ohio; Alan Kozak, Clover Patch Dairy, Millersburg, Ohio; and Nathan Goodell, Goodell Family Farms, Mantua, Ohio.
“The workshop will help dairy producers make knowledge-based decisions when considering adoption of the compost bedded pack system for profitable and sustainable dairy operations,” said Zhao, who has joint appointments with OARDC and OSU Extension.
Dairy producers, professional consultants, NRCS engineers, Extension educators and anyone else interested in alternative dairy housing options are welcome to attend, she said.
The program goes from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in OARDC’s Fisher Auditorium, 1680 Madison Ave., in Wooster in northeast Ohio.
An optional tour of the compost bedded pack system at Indoe’s operation will be offered at 3 p.m.