Risks, benefits and optimal management of recycled manure solids for use as bedding for dairy cattle

Published 20 October 14

The project aims to increase our understanding of factors influencing the risks and benefits of recycled manure solids (RMS) as a bedding material for dairy cattle in Great Britain. The specific objectives are:

  • Carry out a survey of commercial farms using RMS, sawdust and sand to increase our understanding of best practice management of cattle bedding.
  • Carry out a study of different bedding materials to assess the presence of selected pathogens in cubicles bedded with RMS in comparison with other bedding materials. Additionally, this will provide robust information on the relationships between bedding and udder health in dairy cows under GB conditions
  • Contribute to information on best practice for building and managing beds using RMS by conducting a study of different methods of initial build-up of deep RMS beds.

 Expected Outcomes

  • Better understanding of the way RMS is managed on GB farms and details of the management practices associated with “successful use”
  • Better understanding of the bacterial load of RMS and other bedding materials in GB
  • Assessment of cow comfort for cows bedded with RMS or other types of bedding
  • Better understanding of the effect of bedding type on individual cow udder health
  • Increased communication and knowledge exchange with colleagues in the Netherlands
  • Bedding Cost Calculator – a spreadsheet to allow calculation and comparison of various bedding scenarios, adaptable to different farms and pricing structure.

Start Date
Oct 2014

Completion Date
September 2015

Lead Contractor
Quality Milk Management Services Ltd

Other Delivery Partners
The Dairy Group, University of Nottingham, Paragon Vet Group/XL Vets


Newton Rigg College, a part of Askham Bryan College,

Valacon Dairy, The Netherlands

NIZO Food Research, The Netherlands

The ‘Improving the Welsh Dairy Supply Chain’ project which is made possible through the Supply Chain Efficiencies Scheme (SCES) of the Rural Development Plan (RDP) for Wales which is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. AHDB Dairy are managing the funds received to support the study on “ Risks, benefits and optimal management of recycled manure solids for use as bedding for dairy cattle”


Research study 2015 - Executive summary

Scientific Literature

Green, M.J., Leach, K.A., Breen, J.E., Ohnstad, I., Tuer, S., Archer, S.C., Bradley, A.J. 2014. Recycled manure solids as bedding for dairy cattle: A scoping study. Cattle Practice, Volume 22, Part 2, p207-214

For further information, please contact: Jenny.Gibbons@ahdb.org.uk or call 024 7647 8689