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Andersson, Karin (2007) Torvströ till svenska mjölkkor. Other thesis, SLU.

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Peat litter is a soft material with high absorbency. About hundred years ago many farmers in Sweden used peat litter to their dairy cows. After the World War II the use of peat litter decreased and the farmers used more straw. Nowadays (year 2007), when it is harder to find straw and sawdust to buy, peat litter is advancing again. The purpose with this study is to investigate peat as a litter to dairy cows. The study consists of two parts, one station experiment and one interview with 20 farmers that had used or were using peat litter. The focus in the station experiment was on lying and standing behaviour, hock lesions, cleanliness, hygiene at the lying area, milk production, food consumption and the growth of Staphylococcus aureus in peat, straw and sawdust. In the behavioural study we saw significant difference in lying down time as it took longer time to lying down on straw. No other differences were showed. The hock lesions decreased after four weeks using peat. The lesions at the tarsal joint deceased with 40 % (p=0,0039) and the lesions on the tuber calcis decreased with 50 % (p=0,0001). A cleanliness study was done on legs, udder and flank. Theses parts of the body were significantly cleaner after the treatment with peat litter. On the flank it even become significant dirtier again after the following straw period. In the analysis of the hygiene in the lying area, straw had significantly lower number of aerobe bacteria compared to peat litter (p=<0,001). The high absorbency in peat litter may have affected the results because it possibly absorbs bacterial from the dung. The analysis of S.aureus showed that the bacterial had higher growth rate in straw compared with sawdust and peat litter. Different bacterial concentrations were used in the analysis, with corresponding sub clinical mastitis (104) and acute clinical mastitis (108). After six hours incubation, no bacterial growth was seen on peat or sawdust, but after 24 hours a high growth rate was shown on both. Straw had high growth rate already after sex hours. It also had high number of bacteria from the beginning while peat and sawdust had no bacteria from the start. Analysis of S.aureus showed that the dirty bedding material should be replaced within 6 hours in order to decrease the risk of infection. The results from feed intake in the dairy cows in the station experiment showed that the cows possibly consumed peat litter in the start of the experiment. No significant differences were seen in the analysis of milk production. In the interview with the farmers, almost everybody were satisfied with their peat litter. The farmers had started using peat litter because it was difficult to buy straw or sawdust; they lived near a peat producer or because of health problems with their cows. Five of the farmers had stopped using peat litter. Two farmers had big problems with peat gathering in their milking equipment. The other farmers had no such problems. A high price and bales that froze in the winter were also reasons to stop using peat litter. The farmers had seen health effects on the cows like better claw health, no hock lesions, less pneumonia and clean animals. All the farmers were very satisfied with the peat litter in the dung removal installation and were expecting positive results out on the fields. Working with the peat litter had both positive and negative sides. It was considered as positive that peat litter was easy to work with and that it had high absorbance. On the negative side, peat litter was considered as dusty and it became very dark in the stables. The farmers requested a standard of structure and water content in peat litter. Very few studies have been conducted with peat litter and more studies are welcome considering peat litter and mastitis bacteria, hock lesions and the difference between different kinds of peat.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Keywords: Peat litter, hock lesions, cleanliness, hygiene, S.aureus, dusty, cow-comfort, dairy cow, behaviour
Subject (faculty): Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science > Centre for Sustainable Agriculture
Divisions: SLU > Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Depositing User: Karin Andersson
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2007
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2015 09:55
URI: http://ex-epsilon.slu.se/id/eprint/2002

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